Noname released her new single, “Song 33,” Thursday. It is the Chicago rapper’s first release of the year. In “Song 33,” which is one minute and ten seconds long, Noname raps over a midtempo hip-hop beat with soul and soft rock elements. Madlib handles the song’s production.
Noname calls out the silence surrounding black women’s deaths and mistreatment. She criticizes patriarchy and some in hip-hop for being “quiet as a church mouse.” She uses the example of Oluwatoyin Salau, a Tallahassee Black Lives Matter activist who was murdered one week after tweeting about being sexually assaulted.
“Why Toyin body don’t embody all the life she wanted?/A baby just nineteen,” Noname raps. “I seen her everything, immortalizin’ tweets all caps/They say they found her dead.”
She also raps about the lack of attention black transgender people, especially trans women, have received during the protests against police brutality, racism and the death of George Floyd. Noname also addresses the Defund the Police movement, capitalism contributing to systemic racism and her being “the new vanguard.”
“Song 33” comes in the midst of controversy surrounding Noname and J. Cole. He released “Snow on Tha Bluff” in response to comments Noname made against him for remaining silent during the protests against police brutality and systemic racism. J. Cole released his song on Tuesday, calling Noname out for being a “tone queen.”
While Noname does not mention J. Cole in the song, at least some lyrics appear to be in direct response to “Snow on Tha Bluff.”
“He really bout to write about me/When the world is in smokes/ When it’s people in trees?/When George begging for his mother saying he couldn’t breathe/You thought to write about me,” she raps.
Noname was referring to the killing of George Floyd and recent reports of black people being lynched and hung in trees.
J. Cole has since buried the hatchet, encouraging his followers on Twitter to support Noname and follow her.