Noname – Room 25
Released September 14th, 2018
A far stretch from the slow, sugary sounds of her first album, Telefone, Chicago-based rapper Noname formulates a politically-driven powerhouse in her latest album entitled Room 25. Through a tidal wave of funk, soul and pure unadulterated girl-power, Noname delivers to her listeners a telling tale of femininity and racial identity. She blurs the lines between classic rap and spoken word, creating a stunning flow of consciousness.
Tracks such as “Blaxploitation” tap into a sort of neo-soul style, incorporating spoken-word sampling. This pairing produces an incredibly telling account of the racial injustices in America. This commentary is also evident in the track “Self”, in which Noname calls out the Reagan administration, as well as public school teachings of colonialism. Her struggles with self-definition within a society of hate bring to light the reality of a minority that is all too often forgotten; the reality of the black woman in America.
Noname channels her Telefone-era sultry style in the track “Window” by enchanting us with an almost Disney princess-esque orchestral sample layered under soft, melodic rhymes. With a flow like honey, she creates a sound that can’t be anything except warm and feel-good.
Overall, Noname captures the metamorphic beauty of a woman coming into her own throughout Room 25. Her unique, soulful mixes and enticing flow brings a type of beauty to the table that anyone can enjoy. Would I call this one of the best albums of the year? Who can say… I’m not one for hot takes, but this album is definitely one you won’t want to miss.