From starting her own book club to dedicating her time to political education and organizing, Noname has had a busy few years. However, her music had largely taken a back seat. With only four singles released since her critically acclaimed album, Room 22, and her claims of wanting to quit music, fans wondered whether she put the industry behind her.
However, this changed on February 26th, when she marked her return with the release of her surprise new single “Rainforest,” along with the announcement of her upcoming album Factory Baby.
The song is one of her most politically charged yet. To the tune of a light, minimal drum beat, Noname laments about the state of the world and our capitalist system.
The chorus is stacked with rhetorical questions, such as “How you get closer to love?” and “How you make excuses for billionaires, you broke on the bus?” She references revolutionary texts such as Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Huey P. Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide, explicitly aligning herself with Black radical thought. Even the title “Rainforest” is a reference to environmental destruction under global capitalism. These multiple socio-political issues are nonchalantly addressed in the span of the two minute and forty-two second track, without sacrificing her signature poetic, spoken word-like delivery.
Her album had initially been announced back in 2019 when she revealed the title Factory Baby, but she had postponed it in light of the pandemic and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. She has since turned her attention to Noname Book Club, the organization she started in 2019 to promote political education while also uplifting authors of color and supporting local libraries and bookstores. Likewise, she has been doing her own reading and developing her own political thought, which she specifically plans to address with her new music.
It’s clear that Noname has a lot to say about the world we live in, and “Rainforest” offers a small snippet of what’s to come this year.