Chicago has a growing roster of dope, unique hip-hop artists coming out that shows they have a lot more to offer than just ‘Chiraq’ and drill music. Noname first caught my attention on Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper. Her feature was unique and her style was something I hadn’t really heard before. I was intrigued and wanted to hear more from her, so when she dropped her debut project Telefone I had to give it a listen.
Right out the gate, the production on Telefone struck me as just plain gorgeous. The soft piano keys, chimes, and string instruments on a lot of the tracks paint a beautiful landscape that’s rarely seen in hip-hop. The production shares influence from jazz, soul, and gospel all alike, while still maintaining it’s hip-hop edge. There are no club anthems or trap beats to be found here, every beat is layered and intricate, and has a sense of lightness to them. “All I Need” is probably my favorite song off Telefone, the maracas and slow claps paired with the deep bass line layered over the piano keys in the background provide the perfect stage for the soulful singing on the hook.
“All of my n***** is casket pretty
Ain’t no one safe in this happy city
I hope you make it home
I hope to God that my tele’ don’t ring”
This lightness in the production is often in stark contrast with the complex, often serious lyrics that Noname lays down. She raps about the realities of growing up in Chicago and the struggles of being a black woman in America with a matter of factness that’s rarely seen. The subject matter goes some very serious places, but it’s always done within the confines of her determination and hopefulness for a brighter tomorrow. If she can keep on keeping on, then so can you. Her delivery is as unique as the subject matter; as much spoken word as it is rapping. There’s an emphasis on each word being spoken that makes you pay attention to what’s being said. It’s all refreshing stuff and really makes Telefone stand out from the crowd. Noname has a bright future ahead of her.
“Check my twitter page for something Holier than black death
Who am I, Gypsy black
The vacancy of hallelu
Me hollow in my interviews
Me only wearing tennis shoes to clubs with dress codes”
Have you heard Telefone? What did you think about it? Did you appreciate the serious subject matter? Did you like Noname’s rhyme style? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a rating for the album.
Telefone is a refreshing departure from the typical hip-hop fare. The serious subject matter, jazz, soul, and gospel infused production paired with Noname's unique delivery make for something special.