reality check

reality check

This is my favorite Noname song of all time. I love the storytelling aspect of it and it pulls me out of my ruts on most days because of its positive message. In this song, Noname recounts the feelings she had (and probably still has) about releasing her music and the possibility of failing at her lifelong dream.

“Opportunity knockin’, a nigga was out for coffee
Inadequate like my window, the Grammys is way too lofty
And I could stay here forever, I could die here
I don’t have to try here; Can I get my two sugars please?
Jesus made an album, I’m still waiting in the line for cream
She dream in techni-color, live black and white
Opportunity knockin’, a nigga just got her nails done
Skeletons in my closet gon’ open the door when Yale come
They ain’t gonna wanna see my silhouette rap
He’s fucking cognac, my smile in all black”

Noname starts the song with remembering the times where she had a chance to share her talents with the world but she missed out on it because she was simply busy but also because she was afraid of not being good enough. I can relate to this wholeheartedly because one of my biggest fears is just feeling like I’m not good enough for people or opportunities that are presented to me. t’s a scary thing to shake but this song helps me get past it a lot. I’ve mentioned the depression I went through during my freshman year of college and it literally all started because I didn’t feel like I was good enough to be at Howard. I used to listen to this song thinking “Yeah, she’s right, my dreams are probably a little too lofty and I would’ve been just fine staying home in Albany and doing the bare minimum to get praise.” Noname goes on to mention how her peers are doing while she’s still stuck in deciding on if she should let everyone see her technicolor dreams, which hits hard because the feeling of not being good enough comes from comparing yourself to others and wondering what everyone’s going to think of your work.

“Granny gon’ turn up in her grave
And say, “My granny really was a slave for this?
All your uncompleted similes and pages ripped
You know they whipped us niggas; How you afraid to rap it?
You went to heaven after so we could free them now
Ain’t no ocean floor when you can be a Yeezus now.”

Don’t fear the light that dwells deep within
You are powerful beyond what you imagine
Just let your light glow”

The second half of the first verse and the hook serve as the greatest pep talk I’ve ever received. After being in my feelings and feeling like “Damn, maybe I’m not good enough for any of this shit I want to do,” Noname provides a perspective that really makes me think about the reasons why I should keep pushing forward and why I should never give up on my dreams. Although I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit, so many people worked hard for me to be in the space that I’m in right now and it’s up to me to live up to live out the dreams that my ancestors had themselves and those that would come after them. I also can’t be afraid of things being too out of reach or undoable when niggas like Kanye exist. As Eryn Allen Kane begins to sing the hook is usually about where I start crying because every time she sings it, I really feel it deep within. At this point, I say the hook to myself every day as a personal mantra to keep me going and keep me focused on what’s important.

“Twenty four in L.A. mojo teaching me how to drive
Whole world inside my rear view
This feeling, me so alive
This feeling, me so alive, enjoy the joyride
Opportunity knockin’, it’s finally time to answer
The doorbell was only broken cause Auntie was fighting cancer”

The second verse of “Reality Check” is the opposite of the first, as we’re now running towards our opportunities instead of running from them. She’s now in L.A. instead of Chicago and literally has the whole world in her rearview mirror now that she’s moving forward with her life and her artistry. There’s something about coming into your own and moving forward that gives you a feeling being alive, whether you’re in a new environment or just have an entirely new mindset. Now that the opportunity is knocking again, it’s finally time to answer and Noname realizes that the doorbell was broken because she needed to spend time with her family due to big changes were occurring. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that line really speaks to that. There have been plenty of times where I get upset with myself for not going for opportunities but in hindsight, I see that God was preparing me for the other things to come, whether there was a bigger opportunity on the way or I needed to focus on things that are more important like my grades, my family, or just myself.

“And when that call comes (You better say hello)
You better say hello, no hesitation
(You better, yeah) No hiding deep down below
No beg your pardon (You better stay and grow)
You better stay and grow your liberation
(You better, yeah) For your lonely soul
Or you’ll be on your own”

The song ends with an outro by Akenya that basically calls on Noname to not be afraid anymore and take things as they come. No more excuses and no more missed opportunities because you never know when something will be your big breakthrough.

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