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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Prayer Song’ By Noname Featuring Adam Ness

Editor’s Note

The following protest song was initially featured at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.

Noname is the moniker of Fatimah Warner, a 26-year-old indie rapper from Chicago. She recently released her first official album “Room 25,” a much-anticipated follow-up to her acclaimed 2016 free mixtape, “Telefone.” The album is already receiving wide praise.

Her music couples inventive musical arrangements with an insightful lyrical flow. The tunes on “Room 25” eloquently addresses issues ranging from the personal to the political.

One of the more socially conscious tunes on the album is “Prayer Song,” which features vocals from Adam Ness. The lyrics deftly explore subjects, such as gun violence, police brutality, gentrification, toxic masculinity, and systemic racism.

The lyrics include: “I set my cell phone on the dash, could’ve sworn it’s a gun / I ain’t seen a toddler in the back after firing seven shots.”

Those words allude to incidents, where a black person is shot because a police officer apparently mistakes a cell phone for a gun.

It is also a reference to the June 7, 2016 murder of Philando Castile. He was shot by a police officer seven times while his 4-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat.

The song additionally explores how America never truly removed the shackles of past racial oppression (“A free man in the land of the noose,” “Darkness lingers in the wake of slavery”). In fact, black lives being brutalized and murdered by police is a new breed of lynching and mass incarnation is a new breed of slavery.

It cautiously holds out hope that the prayers for freedom will be answered. Of course, prayers without action are hollow. Noname is doing her part to promote action by using her platform to raise awareness.

South Carolina prisoners abandoned to Hurricane Florence were forced to fill over 35,000 sand bags. Photo via SC Department of Corrections on Twitter.
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CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music: ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest