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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About Noname

Chicago rapper and poet Noname (formerly Noname Gypsy) brings an observant eye and quiet patience to a soulful R&B-meets-hip-hop style influenced by Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, and Buddy Guy. Born Fatimah Warner in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, Noname frequented open-mike nights and slam poetry competitions when she wasn't volunteering with the local YOUMedia arts program. Befriending fellow Chicagoan Chance the Rapper proved fortuitous: she appeared on "Lost" from Chance's Acid Rap mixtape in 2013, helping her gain a wider audience. She guested on Mick Jenkins' The Waters the following year, before announcing her own project. Before her debut, she contributed to Mont Jake's Shadow EP and "Finish Line/Drown" on Chance's 2016 hit Coloring Book. Three years in the making, her first album, Telefone, arrived in the summer of 2016. The coming-of-age blend of soul vocals, atmospheric textures, and Noname's spoken-word featured production by Chance associate Cam O'bi, Phoelix, Saba, Monte Booker, and Them People. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

Songs

Albums