Yeah this is what has shocked me. And it seems like a lot of the lyrics on the album address that fact, that she’s not preoccupied with the same things that a lot of big name rappers are. So to then offer no explanation…it completely undermines her persona’s authenticity.
Honestly I really enjoyed my first couple of listens to this record, but I had it on in the kitchen and wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics. Loved the vibe, but absolutely won’t listen to it after this. Such a shame that she’s just trying to explain it away as ‘no thing’.
Not sure the album is very good either tbh (though the $ilk Money and Billy Woods collab smashes, how couldn’t it). A let down, in more ways than one.
I saw some feature on her posted on Pitchfork
haven’t read it, probably won’t, can’t imagine there’s any, like, holding her to account, headline reads like a continuation of their non-acknowledgement in the review
I skimmed it. Was thinking about linking it but just didn’t want to go near her any more really. The piece is utterly fawning. Unbelievable really. They do briefly address the controversy, and once again there’s this incredibly unconvincing slipperiness to her answer: she doesn’t like addressing the whole internet, she needs to speak one on one to get to the heart of it, and yet she says this to a single interviewer who could have pressed her but didn’t. And then the rest, from what I could tell, is about her philanthropy, and supporting her community (by happily being complicit in redirecting blame towards other historically persecuted groups I suppose (is all I can take from her behaviour)). So yeah, don’t bother giving it any clicks.
Edit: just to say sorry if this seems bitter, I’m still just really gutted.
no, it’s about what I expected, sadly. thanks for the summary.
kind of thought Pitchfork was more committed to social justice too
That’s definitely how they present themselves but that makes it all the more telling when they’re silent about something. Maybe it’s a bit of cognitive dissonance on their part or something (I would think if I was feeling generous).
Given the publication is from/based in Chicago I wouldn’t be surprised if people from Pitchfork know her and have been actively rooting for her and promoting her music for years. And perhaps they think she’s getting a short shrift. Which I guess is their prerogative to believe her that she isn’t antisemitic and still be fans of her and her music, though even then a bit more balance is called for.
‘Believing’ that she is not a antisemite is just not good enough I’m afraid. She chose to showcase a notorious antisemite on her album, spouting verses that are antisemitic. She’s never provided any kind of answer or explanation and the media has basically just said ‘that’s fine’. Pitchfork goes even further and not only ignores the issue but fawns over her as one of the great humanitarians of our age.
Can you honestly imagine they’d have done the same if the prejudice she’d given space to was one of those that it was more fashionable to give a fuck about?
It’s just shameful.
From a pitchfork point of view, surely them giving Jay Electronicas last two albums the BNM seal of approval is worse. And no one really complained at the time.
Pretty sure that doesn’t make anything any better
I’m not saying that it does. I’m just saying, well, the culture has an antisemitism problem. They also didn’t call out Jay Z when he said “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America?” on his last album. The same Jay Z who went on to produce and heavily co-write Jay Electronica’s debut album. The same Jay Z who’s been a close associate of Kanye West and appeared on his last album, prior to his worst (public but apparently well known behind closed doora) antisemitic outbursts (on a track featuring Marilyn Manson, no less).
I guess part of the issue is that hip hop typically isn’t punching down. Over 50 years it’s been an outlet for an often-repressed minority to have its voice heard. An often warts and all voice. For a long-time hip hop also had a bad homophobia issue, for example. That doesn’t/didn’t make it right, but it was a reality of the culture. Were Macklemore, or hell, Ed Sheeran, to come out with those Jay Z lyrics people would immediately be up in arms. But then I feel like people find it a more difficult position to deplatform someone rapping about the black experience.
With Noname, she grew up with Jay Electronica as like a hugely important figure for the culture, for the kind of highly lyrical socially conscious rap music she makes. The less he said, the higher regard he was held in. He became like a mythical figure. She was probably incredibly hyped to have a hero of hers on the record, and willing to overlook… a lot of things for that.
Well, yes. Because it happens all the time. For example, with gay people. Noname featured another artist on her album, essentially alluding to antisemitic tropes (albeit by a well known antisemite), MF DOOM himself featured the overtly homophobic song Batty Boyz on his 2009 album. It hasn’t really impacted his career or standing. Hell, you explain the inclusion of clearly offensive lyrics in the context of black culture yourself here.
I honestly don’t know the answer to any of this stuff. But if everyone who’s adjacent to antisemites in hip hop is cancelled, you can pretty much write the whole thing off. Noname here has acted disappointingly and immaturely, but I wonder if she’s being held to a different standard to the rest of the culture, for some reason.
I don’t disagree with much you said. You and I have both found ourselves in the past defending hip hop from unfair criticism in the past, and I think we both come from a position of love for the culture and perhaps a bit more understanding of it than some others.
I think the reason that the Noname stuff is different is because she’s built her whole brand on positivity and ‘good values’ and the media has bought into that. The fact that she been completely allowed to get away with this nonsense without anyone batting much of an eyelid about it, and still gets a Pitchfork puff piece holding her up as some kind of paragon is just infuriating. I don’t want her ‘cancelled’ but I do want her properly challenged and not allowed to get away with her slippery responses on this.
In the case of other artists the transgressions get ignored (or paid lip service to) in the interests of still appreciating the music, and largely I am ok with that - not always, it depends, but mostly. However much they respect him as a technician no-one holds Jay Electronica (or DOOM for that matter) up as some kind of moral example to the world.
It’s the hypocrisy that gets me, and underlying it the age old message that antisemitism is still the prejudice that is basically ok. I just wish people who go on about things like ‘intersectionality’ would understand how being a voice against racism is undermined by being, well, a racist.
I found the Jay Electronica stuff troubling - this is a well reasoned argument though thanks. Definitely a lot to think about.