“I ain’t f#####’ with the NFL or Jay-Z. Propaganda for the military complex,” raps Noname on her “Namesake” track. The Chicago-raised MC also mentioned Rihanna, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar on the song.
Noname’s “Namesake” lives on the Sundial studio album which came out on August 11, 2023. Apple Music 1’s Ebro Darden spoke to the 32-year-old recording artist about her latest project and specifically her criticism of Jay-Z.
“I don’t hate this man,” said Noname about the Roc Nation founder. “I don’t know Jay-Z. He’s a total stranger. We just have ideological differences. That’s all, which the song was just talking about a lot of things, but definitely complacency from all of us.”
Jay-Z faced significant backlash for partnering with the NFL to produce the annual Super Bowl Halftime Show after the league essentially blackballed former quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem in 2016.
Rihanna aligned with the NFL in recent years as well. The Barbadian billionaire headlined the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show earlier this year. That performance from the Anti album creator became the most-watched Halftime Show in history.
Beyoncé was the featured Super Bowl music act in 2013, prior to Kaepernick’s nonviolent protests. However, the former Destiny’s Child lead singer is married to Jay-Z. Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar took part in the Emmy-winning mid-game concert in 2022.
“I think the names got the most focus like, ‘Go Rihanna, go. Go, Beyonce, go.’ But really that was supposed to be me mimicking the crowd like, ‘This is how y’all look, making all these critiques about folks on the internet but then we’d be running to the shows to go and support,’” Noname explained.
She also added, “I have made similar moves in my own career where I’ve contradicted myself, where I’ve done things or supported institutions that I don’t really believe in and that’s why I called the song ‘Namesake.’ Because even though I’m saying all this stuff, I am the same. We are all one in the same.”