We’re kicking of this week at TGF with a brand new Music Monday and some of the best content coming out of Chicago, Noname. The dynamic of butterflies and Hennesy is the sort of the vibe you should take from Noname’s new mixtape Telefone. A long time in the making it was released last month and it was worth the wait.
For those who sometimes like their rap with a little soul and a lot of substance Noname has been giving tracks that tug at your heart and nostalgia. She sets her beats to a day-dreamy backtrack and has some pretty poignant things to say, if you haven’t given her past work a listen it’s a good idea to start with her earlier stuff. Most of it has been taken down off her Soundcloud account – she kind of did a rebirth with Telefone – but you can catch some off the tracks floating around, you just gotta dig a bit.
Noname is a cool summer morning when it comes to rap, there’s no grandeur in her lyrics. She doesn’t push pomp and circumstance, affluence or objects. Which is refreshing to see when it comes to the rap game, with those DJ Khaled types lurking in their golden claw-foot tubs filled with Cristal; its nice to see a rapper practice humility.
Telefone at the moment is my drawing mix, I do a bit of sketching on my downtime (#shamefulplug) and that day-dream of Telefone is perfect for it. If some of you don’t know The Game Fanatics have some great apparel available (#shamelessplug). I’m the dude who draws the things that go on them – for now – and Noname keeps me grounded. I’m going to jump right into the some of the most exemplary tracks off the album; I talk it up a lot and it’s by no means perfect, but that’s kind of what I dig about it..
The first track and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Listening to it I was trying to come up with a sound or music style equivalent to the beats that were being set, as a sort of reference point. It’s like a Charlie Brown cartoon, like a mellow version of the background music. It’s something familiar, which is probably why it gets me smiling.
Another amazing song that reaffirms that after school sound. There’s a quality that’s hard to put your finger on. like I said in most of the tracks there’s a day-dreamy quality and it gets coupled so well with the rhymes that are being put down. Which is something I admire Noname for, her poignant raps and great collaborations with other artists.
One of my favourite songs on the album – for notably nerdy reasons – it reminds me of a western hip-hop Utada Hikaru. Maybe it’s the fact that the chorus has a similar sound to Utada’s song Passion. But then again, I could be drawing conclusions that aren’t there, I’ve been known to do that. But gimme’ a break, I like anime and I like hip/hop. I’d try to splash in more Buffy if I could…
This tops the list as a favourite. It’s got a great emotion behind it, like an understated smile. It has a slight resemblance to what you might hear in a Disney movie – again maybe it’s me, let me have this. Shadow Man’s great mostly because Noname’s rap voice doesn’t stay a confident one – on purpose. She gives her sound flaws, which is much more interesting than trying to hold out for perfection. Her voice has desperation and strain to it, but again, I maybe reading into it.
Listen to Noname’s Telefone Album
Train rides haven’t been the same since I discovered Noname, hopefully they’ll never be the same again. Her music makes things seem so much more dreamlike than they really are, suddenly a grey subway car isn’t so grey. If you’re looking for an alternative to the rap you’re used to hearing or if you’ve never given it a shot, this is a good place to dip your toes in. Give the rest of her stuff a listen, Telefone is available for free to download on Soundcloud and if you’re down with the Noname follow her on twitter.