The Way I See It: NoName

interview (condensed and excerpted) by Breon Jones

illustration by Gangster Doodles

layout by Lindsay St. Clair

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Picking a Name as an Artist

I was going by NoName because I couldn't think of anything cool, then Gypsy came from the first song I put online. That kind of transformed into me being in an-all girls rap group, initially named Black Weird and The Wide Eyed Gypsy, which is the longest name in the history of names for no reason [laughs]. You know how ASAP has like ASAP Ferg and ASAP Rocky? Well I was Noname Gypsy, then there was Lowkey Gypsy, etcetera. [Ed. Note: Noname has since dropped the "gypsy" out of sensitivity to the Romani people]

 

Everything is Best in Moderation

I definitely do smoke but its not the same as when I first started. I started the summer after I graduated from high school and it was the best thing that had happened to me. It was like heaven. I was just getting into making music and vibing all across the city of Chicago. It was a very fun time. Then I started getting too high and was in my head about shit. It was not fun to tweak, so I just stopped for a little while. I’m still easing back into it - toes in the water type shit - tryin’ to see if I can continue to do it.

Understanding Willow and Jaden Smith

I found the New York Times interview interesting because they are so young, but I didn’t put the weight of the world into it. I think that people read it and took it for face value - like, oh my God, they really believe in time travel and all these crazy radical ideas. I thought it was cool. I think Willow is really smart and above the curve on a lot of shit. People are quick to call what they don’t understand crazy. They don’t understand young black kids who think outside of rap lyrics and have an interesting idea of the world around them. Willow and Jaden are like a lot of young people. When you are at that age you are very introspective about the world, well at least the kids that I hung around when I was [Willow and Jaden’s] age, that’s what we were on.

FINDING COMFORT IN PERFORMING

When I first started doing music I was very uncomfortable and awkward thing; I didn’t know how to sound and what to do. Then I finally I got into it. Depending on how personal the song or poem is to me it can be a little unnerving. Like, I never told anybody and now I have to sing it or rap it in front of hella people.

 

Her Debut Project Telefone

Telefone will be the first project I ever put out. My first anything. I named it Telefone because I like the idea of what it means to be on the phone with someone for the very first time and all its little intricate idiosyncrasies. From the awkwardness to the laughter or various intimate conversations you can have over the phone, I want my project to be very conversational. I want people to feel like they’re on the phone with me, getting to know me better than a text message or a tweet.