11 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Obsessed with spoken word, Chicago’s Noname came to hip-hop through the city’s youth poetry scene, where she met hometown heroes like Chance the Rapper. That literary nature has always come through in her raps, in which she tells poignant, intimate stories so nimbly it feels like her words are dancing. But where her 2016 debut, Telefone, felt introverted, her sophomore album, Room 25, opens up. Self-aware and surprisingly funny, it’s a document of Noname easing into herself over lush, live instrumentation that leaves her gentle delivery room to wander: on “Window,” swelling string arrangements back what feels like a free-spirited sexual awakening. “No, actually, this is for me,” she spits coolly on jazzy intro “Self.” She sounds sharper and more confident than ever—an official moment of arrival.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Obsessed with spoken word, Chicago’s Noname came to hip-hop through the city’s youth poetry scene, where she met hometown heroes like Chance the Rapper. That literary nature has always come through in her raps, in which she tells poignant, intimate stories so nimbly it feels like her words are dancing. But where her 2016 debut, Telefone, felt introverted, her sophomore album, Room 25, opens up. Self-aware and surprisingly funny, it’s a document of Noname easing into herself over lush, live instrumentation that leaves her gentle delivery room to wander: on “Window,” swelling string arrangements back what feels like a free-spirited sexual awakening. “No, actually, this is for me,” she spits coolly on jazzy intro “Self.” She sounds sharper and more confident than ever—an official moment of arrival.

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