Noname - Room 25 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Noname - Room 25

by Kyle Kersey Rating:9 Release Date:2018-09-14
Noname - Room 25
Noname - Room 25

Noname has been on the scene for a few years, dropping her mixtape Telefone in 2016. Touring for the better part of a year, she’s remained unknown except to the cult fringes of the hip-hop presses and those who experienced her creative wordplay as part of Chance the Rapper’s arsenal of guest artists from his Grammy-winning album Coloring Book. Room 25 is her first dip into wax pressing, clocking in at just shy of 35 minutes. It also happens to be one of the most introspective hip-hop records of the decade, examining the life of a struggling 20-something artist from Chicago with grace and wit beyond her years.

More to the point, this isn’t just an impressive debut album. This is an impressive album. Period. It’s hard to overstate how intimate Room 25 is. While Telefone was dedicated to her relationship with hometown Chicago (both its comfort and its troubles), Room 25 focuses on her personal relationships: to herself, her ex-lover, and her craft. “Don’t Forget About Me” is the album’s most existential track, where Noname laments her own inevitable death while desiring to be remembered by those closest to her. Her writing is like a diary, and no detail is spared. She sings about her struggles with alcohol and Vicodin while in the same breath declaring “all I am is love”.

Underneath it all is some of the dreamiest production on a hip-hop album I’ve ever heard. The intro to “Window” has an air of 50s Disney to it in the sugary strings. In a way, Room 25 is a modern update on the classic Disney tale, one that subverts the prince charming story with a tale of a short-lived, infatuation-fueled relationship that’s as unhealthy as the aforementioned alcoholism and Vicodin. Even with the lingering theme of self-doubt, there’s some bravado to this. Her most telling line: “Room 25 is the best album coming out, Labels have [them] just doing it for the clout, I’m just writing my darkest secrets like wait and hear me out.” Right on all fronts.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Kyle - Great seeing some of these off the mainstream hip hop reviews at the end of the year. Love seeing the genre expansion and new leads to follow. I've listened to this one and Earl Sweatshirt quite a bit and like them both. Keep up the great work!

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