Chicago rapper Noname performing at the Cannery Ballroom Jan. 21


Brendan Sawyer

Chicago rapper and poet Noname is coming to Nashville to promote her new album Room 25. She will be performing at the Cannery Ballroom next Monday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Over the past few years, Noname has made a name for herself in the hip hop community with her unique spoken-word delivery and intoxicating instrumentals. After performing at open mic and slam poetry events, Noname began her music career from collaborations with artists such as Saba, Mick Jenkins and Chance the Rapper.

Noname dropped her debut mixtape Telephone in 2016, introducing herself to the world of hip hop. Telephone brought a thoughtful and intricate delve into Noname’s mindset, with each song taking inspiration from the important phone calls of her life thus far. The mixtape received universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. Hip hop fans sat eagerly for the next two years in anticipation for her next project.

Last September, Noname released Room 25. Like its predecessor, the album was a financial and critical success. Room 25 showed a more mature Noname delivering stronger rhymes, tighter flows and more clever wordplay while still sporting her classic spoken-word style. The lyricism of the album is nothing short of poetic, exploring themes of self-reflection, love, infatuation and identity. Whether it be the battle of love and lust of a relationship in the track “Window,” her struggle with racial stereotypes in “Blaxploitation” or the explanation behind her pseudonym in the closer “no name,” there isn’t a topic Noname leaves untouched.

Her lines are filled with multiple rhymes, alliteration, puns, double-entendres, and pop-culture references, staying true to her slam roots. She’ll often mix many of these devices into lines such as “Penny proud, penny petty, pissing off Betty the Boop.” Noname uses her literary talents to create clever one liners like “Bake a cake with flour, it’s better to gentrify,” harsh truths “Now birthdays and funerals will only bring the family out,” or even both at the same time: “Feeling fishy Finding Chemo/ Smoking seaweed for calm/ These Disney movies too close.”

The instrumentals of Room 25 hypnotize listeners with there funky baselines, melodic muted keys, soulful percussion and chilling strings. The entire album forms into a meditative experience, as you sit back and listen through Noname’s stream-of-conscious ramblings on love, sex, longing, fame and self-love. Room 25 continues to blur the lines between hip-hop and poetry, and proves to be one of if not the best rap project of 2018. My personal favorite tracks are “Self,” “Window,” “Aces,” and “Part Of Me.”

With Telefone and Room 25, Noname has proven herself as one of the most unique and talented rappers in the game, and I cannot wait to see her perform this Monday.

Tickets are available here.