Independent Chicago rapper Noname kicked off the new year by unveiling her first new song of 2019, “Song 31.” It’s also her first new music since releasing Room 25, named one of Rolling Stone‘s Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2018.
Over winsome, jazz-tipped melodies, the rapper poetically rhymes about the drive and need to make money and its adverse societal effects. “I sell pain for profit, not propaganda/ I know cancer’s origin linked to Santa/ I know Santa’s origins linked to money/ Mass production of cattle/ Slaughtering for the yummy,” she raps, before skillfully tying in the emotional costs paid to the prison system.
“These niggas is clever/ The prison is no better/ The ghost of the living/ We ain’t talking about Reggie,” she raps on the final verse. “On Christmas we almost forget him/ What’s a casket to a holdin’ cell/ If a nigga ain’t in it/ Only reason why I’m steady fadin’ and still independent.”
“Song 31” follows the release of Noname’s first-ever music video for “Blaxploitation,” which she released in December and she made her television debut on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in October. The rapper embarks on her 2019 tour in support of Room 25 on Wednesday at Majestic Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.