There are twinkled harps, jazz backed tracks, and poetry all over the latest release – Room 25 from Chicago’s Noname. The verses on this album mixes bold lyricism, angular and skat vocals, and even tongue-in-cheek rhymes showcase how strong the rapper, poet, and songwriter is. The lyrics are so captivating, so necessary, and so today that you should realize that she could easily be the next queen of hip hop.
The album’s opener “Self” should clue you in for what you’re in for. Stark lyrics, rhymes that are politically charged, and a style that feels breezy without being too light. This is best shown on “Blaxploitation,” where Noname speeds things up, adds sound clips, and keeps the jazz flowing. Noname doesn’t apologize for her style, and she shouldn’t. She is breaking any rules that hip hop could have had and taken it back to its earlier days, when it was poetry set to music.
The flowing notes of “Regal,” the chill vibes of “Window,” and the vocal opening of “Ace” show that Noname isn’t going to offer up the ordinary, while she instead opts to showcase the extraordinary. Every different turn she takes works and works well while she holds your attention with each and every note. This is the smartest hip hop release of the year, intricately crafted and full of weight in a genre that hasn’t had this much heft in a long time.
You can stream Room 25 on all streaming platforms, you can purchase it from all digital store fronts, as well as through Bandcamp. You can see Noname on tour with both weekends of Austin City Limits Festival, as well as the Afropunk Festival in Atlanta. She will be on tour well into 2019, ending on March 15 at the Fox Theater in Oakland. A complete list of her tour dates can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo by Chantal Anderson.