By John Magee
The Multicultural Student Council held a listening party dedicated to rapper, Noname, and specifically listened to songs off of her debut mixtape “Telefone”.
The MSC’s official goal with these listening parties is to “treat hip hop as a kind of poetry that give us the valuable experiences of oppression, suffering and joy. And through this philosophical insight we hope to build solidarity based on empathy.”
Before actually listening to any of the songs on the album, MSC Vice President Derrick Jean-Baptiste wanted to talk about a few facts from Noname’s personal life that had an important influence on her music life.
One really important fact is that her grandmother was from Mississippi, a state that is brought up in many of the songs in this album.
Jean-Baptiste also explained why the album was called “Telefone,” and why there are so many featured artists.
“The album is called Telefone because all of the songs here are based on real phone conversations she had,” Jean-Baptiste said. “That’s why a lot of the songs are duets and go back and forth between artists.”
With the important information out of the way MSC began listening to the mixtape playing all ten songs in the order they appear on the mixtape. First was the song “Yesterday,” which is about the death of Noname’s grandmother.
After each song the group would talk about what message the artist was trying to get across in the song, what meaning any of the students personally got from the song and then using that as a starting point to have a discussion about the themes brought up.
H.A. Nethery, who has a doctorate in philosophy and teaches the subject at FSC, talked about how the song was about death and how people are remembered after they die.
The next track was “Sunny Duet,” which is about both love and the significance of a name. This song got MSC talking about the significance of Noname’s chosen title.
“It could be in relation to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade,” Nethery said. “Where the whole process was about stripping the slaves of any identity.”
Another song that MSC really talked about was “Casket Pretty,” a rap that the artist herself has said is about police brutality and sparked a lot of discussion about not just this topic but how other artists deal with the same tyep of issue.
Nethery brought up “Thieves!(Screamed the Ghost)” by Run the Jewels which talks about what would happen if the ghosts of all the victims of police brutality could be seen, and ends with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about the conditions that form riots.
Jean-Baptiste brought the discussion back to Noname by talking about how this song really convinces him that the theme of this mixtape is not just death but life and how the two are so intertwined.
Once the listening party had ended, MSC talked about two fundraisers it currently has going on, one is a Chipotle night where students can go to Chipotle and tell the restaurant that they are there for MSC and a portion of the proceeds will go to the club.
The second fundraiser MSC is doing is selling easter baskets for Love Unlimited.
Love Unlimited is a non-profit foundation that gives school supplies to underprivileged children in Jamaica. The baskets cost $10 and will be available to order until April 17.