Author: Duke Denham
In a genre that’s oversaturated with booming 808s, bland lyrics about materialistic possessions, and auto-tune drenched vocals, it can be difficult to find artists that bring something interesting and refreshing to Hip Hop. Music in this nature isn’t inherently awful, but the genre is in desperate need of more diversity. Artist like Noname satisfy that need, pushing the genre into more tranquil and thought-provoking territory.
Born Fatimah Warner, Noname initially began her artistic career in poetry, performing at open mics and slam poetry competitions in Chicago. After eventually transitioning into rapping, she met fellow Chicago artists like Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, and Saba. Noname’s features on Chance’s 2013 mixtape Acid Rapand Mick Jenkins’ 2014 release The Water[s]generated buzz around her name in the Hip Hop community as a fresh talent from Chicago.
Noname formally introduced herself in 2016 with her debut mixtape Telefone. The project is structured like an open-ended telephone conversation where Warner confesses the struggles of growing up black in America among other topics. Songs like “Yesterday” see Noname reflect on the death of her grandmother over a backdrop of soulful piano chords and youthful choir vocals.
Last year, Noname released her debut studio album Room 25independently. The project served as an update on her life since the release of Telefone. She didn’t hide any details, telling explicit stories about losing her virginity in an emotionally-shallow relationship on tracks like “Window.” Across both projects, Noname takes a subdued, meditative approach to rapping, drawing listeners into her vibrant, thoughtful lyrics about the nature of her spirit and the world she lives in. The gentle, soothing instrumentals give her space to ponder and provoke the audience to question life on a deeper level.
There are few artists that rival Noname’s ability to craft such detailed, stimulating music so uniquely and smartly, making her a standout artist in Hip Hop today. Her live show will most likely showcase the intelligence and peacefulness that her music is filled with. Noname will be performing at The Showbox on March 9th and 10th. Tickets for both shows have sold out, but if you were lucky enough to grab some, doors open at 8 PM and the show starts at 9 PM.
DUKE DENHAM | No name is also a producer name I used back in high school | KXSU Music Reporter