If you haven’t heard of her yet, Noname is the project of Chicago native, Fatimah Warner. She makes amazing rap music and has collaborated with Chance (yes, that Chance), but don’t expect her to prescribe to whatever label that comes with. Her moniker, Noname, refers to her sense of not belonging to any category, whether it be music, art, or existence in general. This sense of self is reflected in her debut album, Telefone. Described by the artist herself as having a conversation with your crush for the first time, Telefone belongs in a category of its own. The album plays like a mixtape made by Noname personally for you.
At the same time, the album is exactly what you want from a debut release. Every song comes from a sonically different tradition, whether it’s akin to the beginning of the Super Mario theme or a hymnal. Noname threads all of these disparate sound elements into a unified flow. She brings to the table what sounds completely natural to her.
For example, her fifth song on the album, “Reality Check,” lyrically discusses facing head-on the subtleties and confusions of life, but the sound makes her struggles seem almost optimistic. Telefone seems to be telling us not to expect our feelings to be simple or easy, but to accept them as what they are, contradictory and confusing, and then to deal with them from there.
In addition to having a stellar first tape, Noname has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk series as well as The New York Times online. We predict big waves to be made by this Chicago artist in the very near future, and Culture Shock will provide a unique opportunity to see her up close and personal–and for free.
If that sounds good to you, experience your first sonic existential crisis with Noname at Culture Shock 2017!