You may have first heard her on “Lost”, from Chance the Rapper’s second mixtape Acid Rap released in April of 2013. Or, if you didn’t catch her then, you probably heard her dope verse on “Finish Line / Drown” from Chance’s most recent album, Coloring Book, released in May of this year. And if you still don’t know who I’m talking about, let me inform you. Noname, previously known as Noname Gypsy, is a 25-year-old rapper and poet straight out of the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago. Throughout the years she has been featured on songs with Mick Jenkins and Kirk Knight, but this July she decided to release her first mixtape, Telefone.
To be short, the mixtape is beautiful from start to finish—her flow is effortless and her tone is soothing. She manages to flawlessly tap into both joy and sadness using sweet sounding pianos, wind instruments, delicate drums, and of course soft, warm vocals. She has some awesome features of her own including: Raury, Smino, Eryn Allen, and Saba. Even though the mixtape was released in late July, it is one of the best things in music to come out of 2016, and if you haven’t listened to it, you should. This mixtape belongs in the same conversations as Andersan Pakk’s Malibu and Isaiah Rashad’s The Sun’s Tirade, but unfortunately it has not been getting that kind of exposure. But it is not too late; we need to keep an eye out for Noname.
Written by Nathaniel Wartzman