A foreword of sorts, Self” is a reminder of Noname’s skill as a lyricist and her political and artistic perspectives as a woman shaped equally by her connection to the African diaspora and her nation’s failures.
noname tour europe – Raw Talent And Outstanding Charisma From The Chicago Rapper
The poetic, down-to-earth style of Noname exhibits inspirations including Lauryn Hill and Andre 3000, but the rapper has paved a lane for herself with the observant and unflappable verses that shade the full-lengths Telefone (2016) and Room 25 (2018). Noname is a Chicago rapper who has been at the forefront of a wave of great MC’s from the city along with Chance the Rapper, Saba, Smino, Mick Jenkins, and many others. Chicago has become one of the most surprising epicenters for rap this decade. I, like many others, was first introduced to Noname by her verse on Lost” off Chance’s second mixtape, Acid Rap. In that verse, she introduces us to her soft-spoken and meticulous bars that instantly made me excited to hear more. After a 3 year wait from that mixtape, she finally released Telefone, her first project. In the two years since it dropped I have found myself going back to it more than nearly any other rap album from that year and years past. The songs were catchy, smooth, introspective, and smart. So when Room 25 arrived on the September 10, I was hyped.
Noname has striven to make sure that members of her new book club utilize their library cards or library-connected apps to find their books, or that they buy them from independent bookstores. She is also in process of setting up local meet-ups of the book club in POC-owned bookstores. At the end of each month, she plans to record a podcast discussing the books.
On Sept. 14, 2018, Chicago rapper Noname — formerly known as Noname Gypsy — released the follow up to her acclaimed 2016 mixtape Telefone,” an album called Room 25.” Her subsequent tour has been making its way through the United States, hitting Boise on Wednesday, March 8.
Noname’s fans consider her this generation’s “woke” female rapper, but it’s a notion that Noname herself rejects. In a recent interview with The Fader, the Chicago rapper otherwise known as Fatimah Warner insists that her music shouldn’t be pigeonholed as “real hip-hop” (shorthand for old-school rap, usually invoked by the same people who think the four elements represent the only true hip-hop culture). “A lot of my fans I think they like me because they think I’m the anti-Cardi B,” she says. “I’m not. I’m just Fatimah.” And with her debut album, the brand-new Room 25 (2016’s Telefone was technically a mixtape), Noname achieves a healthy balance between the serious outlook of the conscious poet-rapper her fans have come to know and the sillier, funnier facets of her personality.
In 2016, Noname moved to L.A., where she’d recorded Telefone, and didn’t make much new music at first. Then an interesting thing happened: People just kept listening to Telefone. The Chicago rapper has always been an exhaustive storyteller—brimming with narrative-driven stanzas that life in Chicago has written for her—but now the story feels like it’s completely hers.
When you first turn on the album you are met with the shortcut of Self.” While only clocking in at 1:34 this song has some of the most memorable bars from the whole album. This introduces us to a braggadocious Noname, one who responds to haters who think a b can’t rap.” After that, we get the most overtly political song on the album, Blaxploitation.” A song that takes shots at not only the current government for keeping her up at night with their horrible politics but also Hillary Clinton for masquerading the system” by trying to pander to African-Americans. My favorite three-song run of the album is finished with Prayer Song,” backed by a pulsating jazzy percussion section. I cannot get enough of the drum kit on this song. The snare fills are brilliant and keep this track going forward quickly. On top of that is Noname’s intricate and quick flow that matches the beat perfectly.
Her follow-up album Room 25 was a surprise release that came in late September of last year. The album built on the same formula as Telefone (produced in Southern California with her band all in one room), but with more humor alongside new shared experiences of love and loss, and at times what seemed like a new sense of awareness of her audience.
From there, Noname moved quickly into Blaxploitation” before breaking into a medley of songs from Telefone.” The aesthetic of a Noname song is delicate, with jazzy, light and usually upbeat instrumentals, paired with the rapper’s soft, deliberate and complex lyrics. The subject matter ranges from her personal struggles and the violence she saw growing up in Chicago, but also shows interpersonal flaws, insecurities and her unique experience as a black woman.
She’s always been an exhaustive storyteller—brimming with narrative-driven stanzas that life in Chicago has written for her—but now the story feels like it’s completely hers. Room 25 encompasses sounds and stories beyond the three-block-radius she was once confined to by her grandmother We always knew Noname was a sophisticated lyricist, but now, she isn’t just relying on the characters around her. She’s the most important occupant of Room 25.
MARTIN: Born Fatimah Warner, Noname first got mainstream attention when she appeared on Chance the Rapper’s mixtape “Acid Rap.” Following the success of her self-released 2016 mixtape “Telefone,” Noname used the proceeds from that record to fund her debut studio album, “Room 25,” which was one of the most critically acclaimed records of 2018, noted for its sharp commentary on race, identity, sex and politics. Noname is currently in the middle of a tour. But we managed to catch her on a short break, and she’s with us now from NPR West in Culver City, Calif.
In the interview, she attributed her sexual awakening to losing her virginity after touring Telefone. My only reason for not having sex was purely insecurity, purely like, I’m too afraid to be naked in front of somebody,” she told the magazine. Insecurities aren’t present anywhere on Room 25, whether she’s rapping about her experiences in the bedroom or her place in the world.
Noname: I just got exposed to other types of art. I didn’t really grow up listening to a lot of hip hop. I listened to some things like I listened Kanye just because of Chicago. But I grew up with my grandparents, so I ended up listening to a lot of what they listened to.
With its tales of death and unplanned pregnancies, Telefone was reflective of the unpredictability of living in an impoverished sector of a big city: On one hand, this is home; on the other, scarcity is your only constant. There’s a lack of resources, a lack of money, and the only thing that feels abundant is the trauma associated with civilian PTSD Still, with its undertones of blues and jazz, Telefone felt like the antithesis to Chicago’s contentious drill scene, a window into what life was like beyond Chicago’s warring nickname. When I initially created it, I wanted it to feel like a conversation with someone who you have a crush on for the first time,” she said in a 2016 interview with The FADER The mixtape shares the name of the childhood game Telephone and Noname’s withdrawn delivery ensures that there’s an amount of distance between her and her listeners, and the message is somewhat distorted by the time it gets to the last participant.
NONAME: Yeah. Aside from Nicki and Cardi, like, I can’t really speak to that level of it. But everyone who I’ve communicated with is very nice and sweet. But it is – I think they keep that sort of beef publicized, whatever because it’s a part of hip-hop. Regardless of whether we like it or not, like, it is a part of hip-hop, and it entertains people.
NONAME: It’s been a great year for female rappers. It’s been crazy. Ghetto Sage brings three frequent collaborators together under one banner. The Chicago-based artists have often linked up for tracks over the course of their respective careers.
In a landscape where her contemporaries are hyper-prolific releasers, unleashing surprise projects and scrapbook-like mixtapes on a regular basis, Noname stands out as a patient outlier. Listening to her debut mixtape ‘Telefone’ – a dizzyingly detailed log of delicately spun arrangement and intimate telephone conversations, which propelled her to well-deserved cult-status – in 2016, Fatimah Warner’s meticulousness was already apparent. I incubate for a long-ass time,” she put it bluntly, speaking to The Fader.
Her conversational mode is set to fast-forward; words tumble from her mouth as if they’ve been waiting fully formed on the tip of her tongue. She rolls a captive audience through jokey asides and searing social commentary, and finds poetry and politics in the spaces in between. A beaming five-piece band illustrates her world with lush, sweeping neo-soul, and a neon-pink and electric-green Room 25 sign seems to transform SWG3 into the city’s most exclusive members’ club – extreme competition for tickets already bumped up the show from a far smaller venue.
Noname said in a recent interview that hiring that particular 12-piece orchestra (she remains thoroughly independent, an expensive business) blew the entire budget for the project. Unlike many rappers out there, Noname isn’t bringing us a romantic rags-to-riches story; here she acknowledges the pitfalls of fame (as well as the occasional perks) with whip-smart honesty. Just like ‘Telefone’, it’s flawless.
Noname has gained a loyal fanbase for her brand of mellow, introspective rap, rising to fame in part through her numerous collaborations with Chance the Rapper, with whom she honed her craft on the Chicago spoken-word circuit. She has received particular praise for her honest, well-crafted lyrics and musical fluidity and her recent album Room 25 is a pensive mix of jazz and neo-soul, with lyrics that combine her personal experiences with insights into contemporary America.
If there was any expectation that she’d follow her collaborator Chance The Rapper into the pop world, it’s put to rest on Room 25. The album’s biggest difference from its predecessor isn’t its sound, but how personal it is. If Telefone was the story of a young Chicago everywoman (who happened to have supernatural rapping skills), Room 25 is about Noname, and Noname alone.
Calling this exciting news would be an understatement. All three artists have released strong material over their respective careers, but especially as of late. After dropping the stunning Room 25 last year, Noname shared her new album’s name along with one of Â the best songs of the year Saba dropped the equally lauded Care for Me last year and helped make Pivot Gang’s debut one ofÂ the best albums of this year Meanwhile Smino broke through with last year’s NĂIR and further established himself this year on the Pivot Gang album, not to mention dropping new tracks like Reverend” and working with Chance the Rapper , too.
More recently, the 27-year-old musician announced that she is launching a new book club. Ever since I joined your book club, I’ve realized my grammar has begun to redevelop itself,” one user tweeted to Noname Books.
Seeing this friend made me think about the days of seeing members of Freestyle Fellowship perform at tiny all-ages venues in Seattle that maybe never sold-out. I thought about Medusa and Figures of Speech, and how they used to talk about how performing with Freestyle Fellowship at the Good Life Cafe in Los Angeles meant coming up with a different style of rap on a weekly basis. I thought about how much Noname would fit into that tradition today, and how her early collaborator Chance the Rapper cites Freestyle Fellowship as one of his biggest inspirations.
In addition to the online bookworm community, Noname is in the process of setting up local chapters across major cities in the U.S., so readers can meet up and talk about their latest read at black-owned book stores, as reported in Book Riot.
Before the summer 2016 release of Telefone, the debut album that launched her to a quiet kind of stardom, Noname considered quitting rap. Stay up-to-date with the latest books, community events, and more through the Noname’s Book Club website.
How would I describe myself? I think I’m like a young black 20 something artist who’s trying to who’s trying to like explore their identity through music and other things. I’m trying to be as honest as possible also, I don’t know, I think I’m just trying to figure it out along the way. I don’t know entirely how to describe myself. I feel like that’s where my music is kind of all over the place sometimes.
Noname is a Chicago rapper who has been at the forefront of a wave of great MC’s from the city along with Chance the Rapper, Saba, Smino, Mick Jenkins, and many others. Chicago has become one of the most surprising epicenters for rap this decade. I, like many others, was first introduced to Noname by her verse on Lost” off Chance’s second mixtape, Acid Rap. In that verse, she introduces us to her soft-spoken and meticulous bars that instantly made me excited to hear more. After a 3 year wait from that mixtape, she finally released Telefone, her first project. In the two years since it dropped I have found myself going back to it more than nearly any other rap album from that year and years past. The songs were catchy, smooth, introspective, and smart. So when Room 25 arrived on the September 10, I was hyped.