Noname – Room For Vulnerability And More Confidence – Meaning Behind Room25

Noname releases her highly anticipated debut album, Room 25. The 11-track album was executive produced by fellow Chicago native Phoelix and sees Noname return as a more mature and experienced artist.

Indeed, deep in her voice, you can hear the tone of self confidence. A confidence that’s been built upon all the insecurities and vulnerabilities of the artist. Writing them away, rapping them away, Noname, born Fatimah Warner, can happen to be either offhand and unapologetically ironic.

This is the case in the first three songs that open door of this Room25. The opener, Self, sounds at first like an ego-trip rap song, sang upon a mellow instrumental, all jazzy and soulful that makes you want to float away with the harmonies.

Here, she underlines the return of the female rapper that she is: she’s a woman, she’s a poet with knowledge and she can rap, as you can appreciate the genius behind her wordplay, and her casualness too.

Maybe this is the entrance before you get to the river
A heaven before the heathen no reason for you to like me […]
F*cked your rapper homie, now his ass is making better music
My p*ssy teachin ninth-grade English
My p*ssy wrote a thesis on colonialism
In conversation with a marginal system in love with Jesus
And y’all still thought a bitch couldn’t rap huh?
Maybe this your answer for that good p*ssy
I know niggas only talk about money and good p*ssy

In Self, Noname raises her voice, and answers with rebelion to religion and man supremacy when women are supposed to remain silent.

Back to the Telefone EP, in her song Reality Checked, featuring Eryn Allen Kane and Akenya, Noname used to sing “the Grammy is way too lofty” and “They ain’t gonna wanna see my silouhette rap“. She was making room for all her insecurities and lack of confidence here.

Now, she opens her debut album with “Y’all really thought a b*tch can’t rap huh?“.During her 25th year, after touring for Telefone and living new experiences, she eventually ends up to make room for confidence.

Plus, acknowlegding her voice can make a lot of echoes, she raises her voice not only for herself but also for those who can relate, especially women that’s been underestimated (sexism).

Mr. Money Man, Mr. Every Day He Got Me
Mr. Wifing Me Down, Mr. Me-Love, Mr. Miyagi
Miscellaneous, Mr. Molly Inside My Sake
Incredible, incredible emptiness in my body”

Blaxpoitation follows. This reminds of one the message behind This Is America, by Childish Gambino. Both Gambino and Noname speak about systemic racism, and denounce clichés about Black people.

Blaxpoitation is the cinematographic that pictures best all Black cliché and the video pictures Black babies growing in a White world. One comment says the following about the video:

Black kids being misrepresented as grownups whenever they hit the news. Blackness being seen as a crime and cause for public outcry even when we just minding our own business tryna have fun. Black kids having to grow up at a young age in order to survive. The list goes on, and all this in under 3 minutes!

This is what Saba sums up in one sentence in his single SIRENS: “Ridin’ through the city I’m young, I’m black, I’m guilty […] They don’t know me but they fear me.” This last sentence definitely resonates with Noname ‘s songs.

Prayer Song’s sound is just as dark as what’s being pictured. Noname is demysitying the American dream – “LA be bright but still a dark city” – pinpoints daily violence, police corruption, and everybody closing eyes, singing helpless Amen.

In this album, Noname, much more confident in her body (even sexually), mind and soul, is not only defiant and rebellious, but happens again to be sincerely heart-breaking. Along a D’Angelo type of instrumentation, she pens her pain of losing her loved-ones. Sorrow in her rhymes, sadness in her eyes, eyes fascinated with Windows, eyes searching for an escape.
Along tracks such as Don’t Forget About Me, Regal, With You and Ace featuring Smino and Saba, we get back to the Telefone vibes we used to take delight.
Soothing vocals, minimalist playing on the keys, subtle Gospel influences, and overwhelming sensation of comfort thanks to a dreamy, marvelous orchestration. Adding strings to such a mellow orchestration gives the album this heavenly sound.
Quite like the art cover of the album, the final track “no name” sums up the whole idea of the album, this, in the smoothest way possible:
Cause when we walk into heaven, nobody’s name gon’ exist
Just boundless movement for joy, nakedness radiance
Through all the joy and all the pain

Don’t forget from where you came
The avenue remembers you
Your song, your truth, your light is proof
That love is still with you”
Tracks like this make you forget the weight of gravity, and make you feel fly like a colorful butterfly.

Noname - Room For Vulnerability And More Confidence - Meaning Behind Room25 1

Marcus Gon

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