After Noname announced that the release of her Sundial single “Balloons” was imminent, some fans were overjoyed that she had new music on the way, but others were disappointed in her choice for one of the song’s featured artists. After a minor backlash to the presence of Jay Electronica — whose 5%er philosophies often mirror Black Israelite and Nation of Islam talking points that some folks feel reinforce antisemitic beliefs — Noname threatened to withhold the album, saying rap is in a good place (the song’s still coming out, though).
“niggas legit rap about actual murder and sexual assault that they commit in real life and y’all can’t take a jay elect verse?” she wrote on Twitter. “please drink water and be safe out here. i’ll see y’all when my album drop in a few weeks. sending love and prayers.” However, when fans responded poorly to that tweet, Noname tried to elaborate on her choice, then seemingly got frustrated when her points were met with more pushback. “y’all don’t want the album,” she wrote. “fine.”
When another fan argued she should “stick by the action instead of wasting time arguing and then getting upset,” she conceded, “oh the song fa sho coming out lol. the album is another story. i’m good on the selective outrage. anyways hip hop is in a great place right now. another noname album ain’t really necessary.”
It’s easy to understand why Jay’s appearance might have come at a poor time. Hip-hop fans are perhaps especially sensitive to perceived antisemitism after Kanye West’s antics last year, which came at the same time as NBA star Kyrie Irving’s faux pas of sharing a link to a conspiracy video. Unfortunately, because Noname has a reputation for scrutinizing other artists’ politics, it seems that fans are taking the opportunity to fire back at her. For what it’s worth, though, artists have threatened to cancel album releases in the past, only to release the albums anyway — so perhaps when cooler heads prevail, that’s what will happen here, too.