Meet J Noa: The Afro-Latina Rapper That Recently Performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk

Meet J Noa: The Afro-Latina Rapper That Recently Performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk
Credit: Instagram/ @jnoamusic

El barrio, or the hood, is a place where so many different events take place – and, oftentimes, many people don’t pay attention to it. Yet, J Noa, a Dominican rapper, is using the art of rapping to illustrate the experiences of el barrio. From teen pregnancy to financial struggles, her bars are intertwined with hard truths and urban melodies.  

Recently, J Noa, 17, was featured on NPR Tiny Desk as part of their Latine Heritage Month initiative. She jumped on to sing a few of her most-known songs, such as “Betty,” which she wrote when she was just a little girl. 

J Noa, whose real name is Nohelys Jiménez, blends her Dominican roots with contemporary rap influences to create a unique and powerful sound that resonates with her fans. Hailing from the San Cristóbal region of the Dominican Republic, this teen Dominican rapper is making waves with her music. But what sets J Noa apart from the rest of the music scene?  

For starters, her songs are not just catchy tunes but powerful narratives that speak to the challenges, triumphs, and social issues faced by her community and beyond. Her lyrics, often laced with social commentary, reflect her commitment to shedding light on important topics while delivering a powerful musical punch. For instance, in her song “Betty,” you can hear the pain and anger she feels at being exposed to difficult situations such as underaged pregnancy and rape. Yet, J Noa tries to use her voice as a beacon of hope for the girls living in the hood and leaves them with a love letter of the sorts at the end of her song.  

Though her age is noteworthy – she is still a teenager after all –, J Noa has been working at her craft for almost half her life already. Because these experiences are what she knows, writing and composing her raps comes as second nature to her.  

In an interview with PopSugar, J Noa emphasized that she aims to shine a light on the truth through her music. This is why her tracks delve into issues such as social inequality, the plight of marginalized communities, and the need for positive change. It’s clear that she uses her platform to elevate voices that often go unheard. 

Working on her craft has proved to be the right move as she is already signed by Sony, making her one of the youngest Latine musicians to have a deal with a label at the moment. 

The Tiny Desk Concert That Stole Hearts

On September 22nd, 2023, J Noa took the stage for her Tiny Desk Concert. This intimate performance series has a reputation for showcasing raw and unfiltered talent, and J Noa did not disappoint. 

Performing a setlist that included some of her most beloved tracks, J Noa’s Tiny Desk Concert was a masterclass in lyrical dexterity and emotional depth. Her charismatic stage presence and undeniable charisma drew in viewers from all corners of the globe. 

The concert featured songs like ” No Me Pueden Parar” and “Betty,” which have gained significant attention for their thought-provoking lyrics and catchy beats. 

J Noa’s performance was welcomed by the Tiny Desk’s audience as well as the Latine community. Her intricate rhymes, delivered with precision and passion, left the audience in awe.  

It is not always that you get someone from the Latine community to get the spotlight in these spaces – especially if they’ve yet to gain international recognition. However, it’s important for people to learn about J Noa, considering Afro-Latines are the embodiment of rap music. Let’s not forget that it was thanks to the Afro-Latine community that we all now get to enjoy Latine urban music.  

Critical Acclaim and a Bright Future

With her star on the rise, J Noa is poised to become a leading voice in the music industry. Her commitment to authenticity, social awareness, and musical innovation makes her a true force to be reckoned with. 

As J Noa’s journey unfolds, one thing is certain: she is an artist who will not be confined by genres or expectations. So, keep an eye on this rising star, for J Noa is a name you won’t soon forget. 

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