Watch Noname Talk About Her Book Club, Quarantine, More on Desus & Mero

By Madison Bloom

Earlier this month, Showtime’s Desus & Mero featured guest Noname. The Chicago rapper chatted with the hosts about her book club, which she launched to educate herself and others about the negative impacts of capitalism, specifically on communities of color. During the discussion she also talked about the importance of public information, her quarantine routine, the future of her music career, and more. Check out the full interview below.

During the episode, the Kid Mero asked Noname if she was still making music, or if she was putting her rap career on pause to focus on education and her book club. “I definitely put music on pause,” Noname said. She added, “That kind of started not necessarily because of the book club but because I just don’t want to perform for predominantly white audiences anymore.... Obviously we know hip-hop is dominated by white folks.... If I’m going to keep performing I gotta figure out how to get more people of color at my shows.”

“You know what it is?! It’s that white guilt, man,” Mero joked. “[They’re] like, ‘I did a good thing. I listened to Noname’s whole album today, I did a good thing. I’m an ally.’”

Last month, Noname released “Song 33,” her first solo single of 2020, following 2019’s “Song 32.” The Madlib-produced “Song 33” references the deaths of George Floyd and Toyin Salau, and seems to respond to J. Cole’s song “Snow on tha Bluff,” in which Cole seemingly criticizes Noname.

Noname later expressed regret for responding to Cole’s song. “i’ve been thinking a lot about it and i am not proud of myself for responding with song 33,” she wrote on Twitter. “i tried to use it as a moment to draw attention back to the issues i care about but i didn’t have to respond. my ego got the best of me. i apologize for any further distraction this caused.”

Noname’s last LP was 2018’s Room 25. She’s since formed Ghetto Sage (a super group with Saba and Smino), discussed her book club on The Daily Show, and sat down with artist and filmmaker Boots Riley for a discussion at the Haymarket Books event “This Is an Uprising!”

Read about Noname’s “Song 33” in “The Best and Worst of Rap This Week: Why Lil Baby’s Protest Song Should Not Be a Surprise and More” on the Pitch.