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. And I also think that people’s perspectives about women have changed.
noname tour – Noname, But Revealing Nonetheless
Noname (born Fatimah Warner) is an American artist from Chicago, Illinois, who blurs the lines of poetry and rap through the music she creates. 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.
Soon after announcing the formation of Ghetto Sage, Noname , Smino and Saba have dropped their first single Häagen Dazs.” Listen to the track below. They have shared their first track, ‘Häagen Dazs’, which features the three artists going in over a suitably cold beat – listen below.
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, Saba, and Smino have officially joined forces as Ghetto Sage. Following their previous collaborations on Noname’s 2016 debut Telefone (Shadow Man”) and her 2018 album Room 25 (Ace”), the latter of which they performed on Jimmy Fallon earlier this year, the Midwestern trio delivers a strong first outing with Haagen Dazs.” Highlighted by the group’s electric chemistry and a scene-stealing verse from Noname, the track is sets the stage for an exciting full-length project can’t come soon enough.
While there’s a lot to celebrate in rap at the moment, Chicago rapper Noname took to Twitter on Sunday (Oct. 6) to air some of her thoughts on the current state of the rap industry. Although soft-spoken, Noname has never shied away from speaking out critically against the music industry.
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.
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.
It is common for the opening act to be overlooked at a show, especially when the audience isn’t familiar with the music. That was not an issue at the Boise show, with Elton pumping the crowd through the rest of his set. Going from fast-paced with the occasionally falsetto verse to energetically singing through his rendition of an Andre 3000 song, Elton’s act was a healthy mix of R&B-tinged hip-hop, with some tight instrumentals from the band holding it together. Feeling satisfied with his own and the audience’s performance, the stage was left for Noname.
Noname’s book club is grounded in a passion for books that goes deep. Her mother, Desiree Sanders, was the first black woman in Chicago to own a bookstore, and Noname posted on Twitter about how this club will continue that legacy.
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.
But doing poetry, and in Chicago, I was able to go to a lot of different open mics and meet a lot of other musicians and other people who who are artistic and express through different mediums. So I met Chance The Rapper and Mick Jenkins, and a lot of other people ended up influencing me and helping me grow artistically and expand outside of just poetry.
MARTIN: Why don’t we stop talking about – why don’t we play some, and then we can – people can hear for themselves what we’re talking about. Here, let’s play “Blaxploitation.” We’re going to play a little bit. This is from your album “Room 25.” Here it is.
NONAME: (Singing) Yeah, anti-political, mythical in the picture. Your expletive just moved to Wicker. Your mammy stay on the South Side. She paid to clean your house – power of Pine-Sol, baby. She the scrub tub lady. She that naked expletive in videos, that drunk club lady immortalized all ’80s and then she real, real nasty. Keep the hot sauce in her purse and she be real, real blacky (ph), just like a Hillary Clinton who masqueraded the system, who chicken-boned, watermeloned, traded hoodie for hipster, infatuated the minstrel.
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.
NONAME: It looks amazing to me. I feel like this is probably like one of the best times in hip-hop for women. Right now, we have such a beautiful variety of artists. And there’s like – there’s this very communal spirit between everyone, at least of the women that I’ve met or talked to through social media. Everyone is very supportive of everyone. And I also think that people’s perspectives about women have changed. And people are interested in women’s opinions about things and the type of content and ideas that come from women. So I’m really excited to see what the future has for these new artists coming up too.
Arguably one of the best lines on Part of Me” and Room25 comes from Detroit-based rapper Benjamin Earl Turner. Making use of the potential double interpretation of the word shooting,” Turner brings to light the often disparate realities constructed by one’s upbringing.
MARTIN: You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about that too just because this whole question of what it is that we value, what is it that the industry broadly defined promotes is something that I think a lot of people have been talking about. I mean, I’m thinking, you know, this has been a big year for female rappers. I’m thinking Cardi B. I’m thinking about you.
The rumored release of Playboi Carti’s long-anticipated forthcoming album, Whole Lotta Red, might have headlined the week in rap releases, but its failure to arrive didn’t ruin New Music Friday. We were still blessed with new albums from Gucci Mane (Woptober II), Kash Doll (Stacked), Benny the Butcher and Smoke DZA (Statue of Limitations), and G-Eazy (Scary Nights). Beyond the full-length projects, this week saw debut singles from a pair of newly-formed supergroups, Ghetto Sage (Haagen Dazs”) and Griselda (Dr. Birds”), as well as offerings from Blueface and Gunna (First Class”), Gang Starr (Bad Name”), and Yo Gotti, Megan Thee Stallion & Lil Uzi Vert (Pose Remix”). These are the best new songs of the week.
When Noname stepped on stage that first night the joy in the room was palpable. Her excitement on stage was infectious, and at times the night felt like a communal celebration for all of us, just for surviving. She set it off with “Self”, the first song from Room 25, and went right into the second song “Blaxploitation” from there.
The Chicago rapper known as Noname, born Fatimah Nyeema Warner, has roots in slam poetry that are evident in her music. She even cites poets and authors, including Toni Morrison and Patricia Smith, as lyrical muses. The rapper sold out the Ogden Theatre on March 6.
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.
Today, Noname arrives with her debut album, Room 25, where she veers away from the anonymity she used as a security blanket in the past, avoiding most press, photos, and visuals for her songs. Before removing the slur gypsy” from her moniker in 2016, she told Chicago she considered her creativity nomadic,” with the ability to make music that transcends genres. The album feels like the first time we’re getting a clear picture of Noname as an artist, its brushstrokes more concentrated and less abstract.
Room 25 is the follow-up to Noname’s 2016 debut Telephone , which was one of the best rap records of that year. Somehow, Room 25 manages to top it. Read our full album review here , and check out our track review for the song Don’t Forget About Me” here Find Noname’s tour dates in her tweet below.
Noname grew up in Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on the south side of Chicago that famously attracted accomplished black artists and intellectuals of all types. Noname first discovered her love for words while taking a creative writing class as a sophomore in high school. She became enamored with poetry and spoken word- pouring over Def Poetry Jam clips on YouTube and attending open mics around the city.
NONAME: I think because of the art that I make, people expect me to be outspoken about it and also because of the way I present myself. People are like, well, she’s always wearing button-ups so she must be anti the sexualization of women in the industry, which I am if that’s not what those women truly want for themselves. But I think what I would like to see – I don’t know if I want myself to be the artist who is that or just something else in general, but I would just like to see more of the variety I was talking about with women in hip-hop on a larger scale.