The drummer playing for rising star rapper Noname was wearing a shirt that said “Wonderful Noise,” and that served as a prophecy for the set he was about to be a part of. Fatimah Nyeema Warner, widely known by her stage name Noname, struck a balance between meaningful and fun at her Friday night performance at the Lost Lake Festival in Phoenix.
The 26-year-old rose to prominence after being featured on Chance the Rapper’s 2013 Acid Rap, and the July 2016 release of her debut album Telefone
received wide acclaim. The album is so-titled because the songs are inspired by telephone conversations the Chicago native has had throughout her life. On Telefone
, the conversational songs open-ended, vulnerable and thought provoking.
But, even in a setlist that featured songs like "Casket Pretty," which touches on themes of police brutality and the fear of learning about a loved one’s death, she spent most of her time onstage smiling. She joked about how sad her music was, introduced the audience to all of the band members on stage with her, and even slapped a beach ball back into the crowd when it bounced its way onto the stage.
At one point, she started rapping, “fuck bitches and get money,” and encouraging the audience to join her. Her shifting of the phrase to “love women and get money” was met with huge applause, and a further shift to “fuck niggas with no money” received even bigger cheers.
As the sun set over her performance, the lyrics to "Yesterday," which she’s described as being a blueprint for Telefone
, left the audience glowing in the warmth of Phoenix’s golden hour and in the light of Noname’s words.
“When the sun is going down, when the dark is out to stay, I picture your smile like it was yesterday."