Entitled Noname’s Book Club ,” the group will highlight progressive work from writers of color and writers within the LGBTQ community.” It’s safe to say that a love for reading runs in the family.
noname song 32 – Jazze Belle
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 originally rose to fame through her music. A master lyricist, she came up with fellow artist Chance the Rapper. Now, sis is continuing to produce music but is using her platform for social change and economic revolution. Stop sleeping on NoName.
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 has invented herself as a nonchalant counterbalance to mass-market hip-hop. In Self,” the brief track that opens the album, she taunts, Y’all really thought a bitch couldn’t rap?,” but her delivery is far from pushy or confrontational. She’s above it all, laughing at how nonsensical that idea was.
NONAME: (Rapping) Penny proud, penny petty, pissing off Betty the Boop, only date expletive that hoop, traded my life for cartoon dance, monkey, dance. Cathedral gonna pay me good tonight, eating Chick-fil-A in the shadows – that taste like hypocrite. Yummy, tasty. Yummy, tasty. Waffle fry my empathy, expletive just really lazy. Maybe I’m a hypocrite. Maybe I’m hypochondriac. I’m struggling to simmer down. Maybe I’m an insomni-black (ph), bad sleep triggered by bad government. Write a think piece in the rap song, the new age covenant. If you really think I’m cooking crack, pass me the oven mitts, captain watch a lil’ expletive go crunch and wonder how everything happen.
Room 25 sees more than Noname simply coming into her own. While only her sophomore album, it feels deserving to be championed as her opus. Informed by her background in spoken word, inspired by Ms. Lauryn Hill, and scored by the varied sights and sounds of Warner’s last 25 years on Earth, Room 25 is a uniquely personal yet universal sonic personification of the past and present. From themes of and references to sexual liberty, police brutality, to the reality of being black in America, through it all, one constant remains: Noname’s brilliant use of sung and rapped prose. Here are a few of our favorites.
Noname, Saba, and Smino have collaborated several times before. The three joined forces on Noname’s 2016 track “Shadow Man,” and her 2018 track “Ace.” During a March interview with Billboard , Smino spoke about his relationship with the other two artists and touched on the possibility of forming a group.
Had she not continued to make a name for herself in the rap scene, she said she probably would have become a nurse instead. (That was the only other thing that I enjoyed doing,” she told Rolling Stone.) But, thankfully, she continued on and is now making it big. With the albums Telefone and Room 25 under her belt, Noname has already become one of today’s most critically acclaimed lyricists and hip-hop artists.
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.
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.
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’s (real name Fatimah Warner) performance was animated and articulate, exuding an infectious enthusiasm for her own material. Starting with the one-two punch of Self” and Blaxploitation”, the opening tracks of Room 25, she then reached back into her acclaimed debut album Telefone – playing a truncated version of Diddy Bop” which received a huge reception from the crowd, followed by Sunny Duet”. She blasted through a selection of Room 25 tracks, including the intricate Prayer Song” and the catchy and jazz-inflected Montego Bae”, which had much of the audience singing along to the hook. Throughout, she connected effortlessly with the crowd, at one point beckoning the audience to move closer to the stage for a more pared-down section.
Six years ago, a handful of talented poets gathered together in a cramped room for Young Chicago Author’s WordPlay showcase. Some acts were people you’ve never heard of, and others were people you’d get to know soon, including a lanky 19-year-old named Chance the Rapper and an already celestial Jamila Woods Another poet who took the stage hid behind a black bowler hat, which sat atop a head of cropped corkscrew curls. You probably won’t recognize her immediately in the choppy video that captures the events of that evening, but the wide-eyed innocence of her voice is one you’ve heard before.
The next string of tracks, Regal and Montego Bae, follows the overall vibe of the album and double as an ode to self-confidence and playfully reminiscing over sensual memories ignited by a West Indian lover. Ace, featuring St. Louis rapper Smino and fellow Chicago native Saba, is a personal favourite because of the fast-paced, infectious rhyme style that will have various listeners begging the rapper to make this an official single. Part Of Me, featuring Benjamin Earl Turner and Pheolix, gives off a sound that will satisfy D’Angelo and neo-soul lovers. Closing off the 34-minute album, the song no name left me wanting more from the talented writer and musician.
At one point at the 9:30 Club, Noname promised: I’m going to be transparent with you.” All tour long, she confessed, she had been having trouble getting through the entirety of her just-released track, Song 31.” Her Wednesday night show was no different, but after a break for water and encouragement from the crowd, she tiptoed her way through her latest lyrical minefield to cheers.
Noname came up in the Chicago poetry open-mic scene before shifting to music full time, and the anxiety of performing her music live is something that is touched on in her deeply personal Room 25.” But the poet-emcee did not show any of that anxious energy, following her band onto the stage confidently and breaking right into Self,” the album’s opening track.
This was short lived, with Noname resurfacing for her true final song, Shadow Man.” A harmonious, haunting piece about death, the track brings with it an oddly cheerful shine. The neon Room 25” stage sign would dim as the band finished their song, the stage fading to black only to be relit empty.
I watched most of the show standing with a friend who I used to see at every hip-hop show in Seattle nearly 20 years ago. She was there with her teenage daughter who knew every one of Noname’s lyrics.
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.
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.
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.
Produced by fellow Chicago-native Phoelix, Song 32” opens with whistling backed by jazzy, percussion-saturated instrumentals. The whistling stops abruptly, and Noname enters the song with a fast-paced verse. She swiftly shifts from commenting on staggering bills to inordinate wealth, dropping metaphors and allusion so quickly that it’s hard to catch the full effect on the first listen. This fast delivery is to wonderful stylistic effect: Noname doles out searing critiques of American greed and interventionism, and she doesn’t care if the subject of her critique is fast enough to keep up.
Chicago rapper Fatimah Nyeema Warner, better known as Noname,” continues to make her hometown proud. Check out Noname’s tweets regarding her book club below. Rapper and poet Noname has started a book club that has the goal of highlighting progressive work from writers of color and writers within the LGBTQ community.
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.
Chicago rapper Noname expresses her humanity through intimacy, and despite the crowds at Lollapalooza, she hit the right notes—when you could hear her. The Chicago rap artist dropped revelations about the inner workings of the music industry.
A lot of the times, I don’t really know. I kind of just get inspired by the production. So Phoelix had most of the instruments laid down for the track but the bassline was just so funky that I kind of envisioned like what would Penny Proud be if it were like a political cartoon, you know? Like, what would that look like. I guess I tried to be that character on the song. So, a lot of it is supposed to be visual. Like a lot of the writing is supposed to be purposefully visual, kind of cartoony.
Among the handful of high-profile guests—Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, and Teyana Taylor, to name a few—on Kash Doll’s debut album, Stacked, it’s R&B darling Summer Walker, fresh off releasing a successful debut LP herself, who joins Kash for the album standout No Lames.” The sassy track doubles as a No Scrubs” for the millennial generation, as both women give the boot to broke boys and infidels.
A nod to one Brooklyn and one Chicago MC, both noted for their heavy social content, and in Common’s case, especially at that time, a deep introspection. The documentary for Jay-Z’s Black Album also featured a scene where Jay throws his hands up, frustrated with rappers who were, in his words “scared to be themselves”. The following year, Kanye West (another Chicagoan) exploded onto the mainstream with his 2004 debut College Dropout, and with all of his contradictions, an entire generation of young artists unafraid to be themselves followed.
Her lines of lyrics are long, fast, polysyllabic, intricately rhymed, packed with convoluted allusions and delivered with melodic inflections — her own extension of the rapping virtuosity of the 1990s, ambitious but never bombastic. The music, almost all of it produced by her invaluable collaborator Phoelix, is filled with the chord progressions of jazz and R&B, elaborately casual beats that always seem to be taking their time, and glimmering keyboards and warm synthesizer tones that echo Stevie Wonder. Even when the material is looped, it sounds like it’s played by people, not machines.
Pulling no punches, Prayer Song” arrives next, its swell of snare and chorus of background vocals enhancing Noname’s hymn-like exploration of Black consciousness in the land of the noose.” Holy like Aretha Franklin’s Spirit In The Dark ” and Solange’s F.U.B.U. ,” Prayer Song” isn’t just a plea, it’s a testament, and Noname conveys the communal necessity of call-and-response each time she utters Hallelujah” and Amen, amen.” Elsewhere, the mesmerizing instrumentation of Window” brings to mind the glory of Diana Ross and Minnie Riperton, making Noname’s fervent confessions feel deeply, enlighteningly universal.
The outspoken Chicago MC and poet NONAME began rapping and performing slam poetry in 2010, but she first caught people’s attention beyond her Bronzeville neighborhood when she guested on the track “Lost” on Chance the Rapper’s 2013 mixtape Acid Rap. Her acclaimed 2016 solo debut, Telefone, which took three years to produce, showcased “a potency and urgency in her complicated, spoken word-esque cadences” (Stereogum) that captivated the hip hop world and set her miles apart from this generation of rising talent. Festival appearances this year at Coachella, Sasquatch!, Boston Calling, Electric Forest, and the Pitchfork Music Festival, among others, have the world watching, leading up to her BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! debut.
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.
The album begins with a soulful track titled Self, which perfectly encapsulates her witty rhymes and flavourful prose without flaw. Reminiscent of Sunday mornings and worship, Noname’s lyrics are her own testimony. Blaxploitation follows the lead song, sampling clips from the vintage era that dominated in the 1970s. The rapper thoughtfully combs through a plethora of black stereotypes and the effects it has on her psyche (My people started running a long time ago. And they are still fighting,” ) making the feature one of Room 25′s standout tracks.
Noname’s debut album, Room 25, released on Sep. 14, 2018, made it clear that her success was no fluke. Despite only taking a month to record, Room 25 feels almost perfect. With a casual, stream-of-consciousness delivery, Noname showcases her personal and musical growth since the release of Telefone two years before. The life of fame has made her more travelled, more financially secure and more grown-up. All of these changes helped to make Room 25 what it is: a universally-acclaimed project by a young rapper from Chicago.
Opening with a jazzy and masterful bass-riff, this more trap-like song is where Noname gives her reasoning behind her name. After, the band played out with incredible vocalizations from her team, all of them leaving the stage.
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.
In interviews, Noname has expressed how bored she grew of over-performing much of Telefone, although from those few ecstatic selections she played on the night, you wouldn’t know it. It was fascinating to see older tracks rearranged for her band, who shone throughout, and particularly during the final number of the main set, no name”. For the encore, she performed a stirring a capella version of Shadows”, feeding off the energy and input from the crowd.
NONAME: (Rapping) Only wordly posession I have is life. Only room that I died in was 25. What’s an eye for an eye when expletive won’t love you back? And medicine’s overtaxed. No name look like you. No name for private corporations to send emails to. ‘Cause when we walk into heaven, nobody’s name going to exist. Just boundless movement for joy, nakedness radiance.
Her first big break came when she appeared on Chance the Rapper’s second mixtape, Acid Rap , on the track Lost ”. I remember when my teenage, hip-hop-crazed self first came across this mixtape. Like many other people, I completely fell in love with it. Noname contributes a great verse to a great song on a great project, representing a high point in the mixtape’s soulful, jazzy, dreamlike production. It felt both out-of-this-world and quintessentially Chicagoan all at once – an atmosphere that Noname has further cultivated over the years.
Two years since the debut of her critically acclaimed mixtape Telefone, 26-year-old Chicago rapper Fatimah Warner (a.k.a. Noname) wears her heart on her sleeve in Room 25. Fully financed by herself, the album is a combination of distinct, symphonious sounds that complement the rapper’s melodic discography. While the rapper was known for her slam poetry roots as a teen in the Bronzeville neighbourhood of Chicago’s South Side, she gained notoriety after appearing on Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap in 2013. After delivering a solid project with Telefone in 2016, Noname proves why she’s worthy of all the press and praise with the arrival of Room 25.
Thanks in large part to Room 25, Noname’s sense of aloof anonymity has slowly melted away to reveal conscious rap star power. But she’ll be the first to tell you that doesn’t mean she’s got it all figured out.