Meaning of “Namesake” by Noname

It’s interesting that an artist who goes by the tag of “Noname” would drop a song titled “Namesake”, but the rapper is seemingly using the opportunity to explain why she chose such a moniker to begin with.  And as implied, that’s because she’s more communal- rather than individually-minded. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Noname's Namesake at

For instance, as relayed in the chorus, Noname idealizes herself chillin’ in an exotic land with “a couple of friends”. Or put otherwise, she doesn’t come off as the type of rapper who is obsessed with riches or her own personal success. 

In fact this is yet another one of Noname’s songs where she touts socialism, a system which is more group-oriented than capitalism. And such a sentiment is also discernible in the otherwise-confusing first verse, i.e. the vocalist and her “n*ggas” living “off the grid” in some type of idyllic rural setting, perhaps even “the motherland”, aka Africa.

But the real reason we’re compelled to write about “Namesake”, i.e. what has caused this song to generate headlines, is Noname resorting to the more traditional rap tactic of dissing certain peers, i.e. other famous rappers, who she proceeds to actually namedrop.

At the top of her list is Jay-Z who, as with the others mentioned, is in fact one of the biggest names in the game. And what he’s being criticized for is a partnership his entertainment company, Roc Nation, formed with the NFL.

The NFL, i.e. the National Football League, i.e. the premiere American football (not to be confused with soccer) association. Roc Nation formed a long-term partnership with the NFL in 2019. This has since resulted in certain musicians gracing the Halftime Show of the Super Bowl, i.e. the NFL’s championship game, which happens to be the most-watched television program in the United States annually. 

Said musicians include the likes of Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar, who are called out in the bridge of “Namesake”. As for Beyoncé, who’s also mentioned, she actually performed at the Super Bowl twice, in 2013 and 2016. That was before the Roc Nation partnership, but still, Noname obviously felt the need to also call her out nonetheless.

As relayed, at the heart of the vocalist’s beef is the fact that the NFL is also in bed with the US military and indeed has been for decades. Therefore by supporting the NFL, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are also, by association, pushing “propaganda for the military complex”. 

And presumably the reason that’s an issue to Noname – despite her obviously being anti-American, so to speak – is because said artists, let’s say with the exception of Rihanna, are known for being critical of the powers that be themselves. 

Indeed, Jigga faced a notable backlash the moment he teamed up with the NFL, not due to the latter’s military association but rather their beef at the time with Colin Kaepernick, an NFL player himself who became a symbol Black radicalism, if you will, against the mainstream system.

So on one hand, it’s almost as if Noname is kicking up old dirt, albeit from a different angle. But on the other hand, since Roc Nation will seemingly continue to deal with the NFL into the foreseeable future, her gripe also has an ongoing viability.

But as implied earlier, whenever one popular rapper gets to dissing another, motives always have to be questioned, i.e. whether there’s genuinely an issue at hand, or if such is being done primarily in the name of selling records. 

And in this selfsame bridge, at least Noname is honest enough to admit that she isn’t immune to the allure. That is to say that she admittedly opted to perform at Coachella earlier this year, despite doing so being against her personal beliefs.

According to the rapper, she opted to do so ‘because she needed the bread’. Presumably that, i.e. money, is the same reason that Jay-Z and co. decided to f*-k with the NFL. 

So now that it appears that Noname is on the verge of a genuine breakthrough, it’ll be interesting to see where her career goes from here, i.e. if she’s actually able to consistently adhere to her belief system while simultaneously being tempted by a higher cashflow.

“Yo, I never need no man
I got a little bit of love and a couple of friends
Picture me rollin’ up the bud in the south of Sudan”

Credits and Release Date of “Namesake”

“Namesake” was written exclusively by Noname, and its producer is Slimwav.

This track was released on 11 August 2023, being part of Noname’s sophomore studio LP, which is a project titled “Sundial”.


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