Single Review: Rainforest – Noname
Flo de Bruin reviews Noname’s latest single, ‘Rainforest’.
For an artist called Noname, her lyricism and political agenda leave little to the imagination. Her latest track “Rainforest” presents a non-confrontational experience of social activism and political commentary against upbeat bossa nova. Noname’s raps are effortless, organic, and fresh; her rhymes flow as naturally as the rhythm itself.
references to Frantz Fanon and Huey P Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide, Noname oozes confidences as she highlights the racial underpinnings of capitalism.
As it starts, the song builds with layers of percussion, each introduced one at a time, quickly forming a cohesive, hypnotic backdrop. Her vocals appear soon after, weaving themselves in with the rhythm, posing questions that gently but effectively catch us off guard. She asks, “How you make excuses for billionaires, you broke on the bus?,” challenging the glorification of the world’s richest by drawing attention to the unequal distribution of wealth.
Her discussion of classism, race and environmental degradation with a certain lightness is testament to her ability to connect with her audience. Her soft yet deliberate voice are purposefully used to make unflattering observations of those around her and the social institutions in place.
Focus moves to the disenfranchisement of native groups, “Dyin’ on stolen land for a dollar like that ain’t fucked up.” She points towards the problematic history of the United States, namely the theft of land from the Indigenous people, alongside hitting out at the futile pursuit of the ‘American Dream.’ Bolstered by references to Frantz Fanon and Huey P Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide, Noname oozes confidences as she highlights the racial underpinnings of capitalism.
Acknowledging “Rainforest,” as the title, Noname raps “They turned a natural resource into a bundle of cash.” Resentment towards the exploitation of limited natural resources fuels Noname’s discontent as the world lacks a unified front in tackling climate change.
Overall, the song’s poignancy lies in Noname’s ability to discuss heavy topics conversationally. Another interpretation is one of solitary reflection; it is as though she is positing these questions to herself, like we are reading her diary or listening to her stream of consciousness with an accompanying rhythm. She boasts her talent for lyricism in the song and has left her fans desperately awaiting her next album, Factory Baby.