Rolling Stone’s latest “Artist You Need to Know,” 27-year-old Noname (born Fatimah Warner), just dropped her first studio album “Room 25” after letting her initial 2016 release simmer for two quiet years. Within the 34 minute sophomore project, Noname playfully dances around heavier themes of mortality, sexuality, and heartbreak through her self-described “lullaby rap” style. Following the lapse in material after her debut album “Telefone,” Noname fills listeners in on her rising fame and journey of self-discovery through her late twenties. She also has a way of weaving in sexually and politically-charged lyrics that practically go unnoticed under the intricate layers of jazz and reggae rhythms. “Keep the hospitals overrun-run-run-run, Chicken Little/How my city gonna run off shits and giggles?” she sings in “Prayer Song.” “Regal” mirrors themes from a track off of her 2016 album’s “Casket Pretty:” I’m warmer inside the casket, basket atop my head/Africa’s never dead, Africa’s always dying.”
Noname also speaks on discrimination, self-esteem, and even veganism; these topics are scattered throughout standout tracks such as “Montego Bae,” “Ace,” and “Self.” From start to finish, “Room 25” brings a stark yet much-needed contrast to the current hip-hop scene with an unorthodox approach to rap music. With the help and seal of approval from artists such as Chance the Rapper, Smino, and Ravyn Lenae, Noname’s future is bright. Already racking up swaths of critical acclaim, the Chicago-born poet is surely on her way to becoming one of the most distinguished female rappers of our generation.