No Name – the type of food I can afford on a budget.
Noname – a gifted lyricist who’s energetic performance I got to witness at The Phoenix Theatre last Sunday. It was a treat like no other. The show started with a DJ whose name I’m not sure whether I was suppose to remember. The music was decent and he was able to rile the crowd up to a proper level. Then came Ravyn Lenae, slim-framed and bird-like quality to her singing, by all accounts, and impressive artist with an even more impressive head voice. (I also thought it interesting that Lenae saw colours for her songs.)
When the woman of the hour finally made her entrance, the electricity was palpable and for the rest of the sold-out show, she would command attention with a childish giddiness in her step but brutal honesty in her words. After the show, my friend who had gotten me the ticket for free pointed out how she got a full audience to sing Bye Bye Baby, a song about abortion, as if it were a Top 40 pop track. She got the excitement to ebb so as to instill the seriousness needed for Casket Pretty, music speaking to the many Black deaths that plague her hometown of Chicago, but also the United States in general, and the world. While her encore, Shadow Man, was great, my favourite song from her latest EP Telefone, will always be Forever, which includes cheeky and truthful nuggets of wisdom such as:
“I’m trying to re-imagine abracadabra for poverty/
Like poof I made it disappear/
Poof I’m made of happiness/
Everything is everything/
But I still haven’t paid my rent”
And I particularly like this part of Joseph Chilliams verse:
“We gon’ live forever like Aaliyah/
Look how they did Rekia/
Honestly I’m just happy I could be here”
There’s just so much earnestness in the delivery that I’m planning on smiling all the way to 2018 thanks to this concert. At least I got to see her live before her tickets cost $500. A couple more remarks before I stop gushing over this artist.
1) I admire her honestly and willingness to learn for having dropped g****y from her artist name
2) She is influenced by some real heavyweights of words like Toni Morrison and James Baldwin and I respect that
3) I really like how she explains her expression “Everything is everything“: people often assume it’s an homage to Lauryn Hill, but she describes it as how she says that she’s ok with how things are, that not being rooted in any specific religion, it’s a way to acknowledge that we are all equal creature that are part of this planet (according to New York Times online performance, March 2, 2017).
To put it lightly, Noname is one to watch.
Everything is Everything!