By Kelly Kenlon
Just over a month ago, I had the opportunity to see R&B/hip hop/poetic goddess, Noname, perform at Skidmore College.
Noname hails from the South Side of Chicago, along with some other familiar names like Chance the Rapper, Saba, Vic Mensa, Jamila Woods and Kanye West. If you’ve listened to Chance’s Coloring Book then you’ve already heard some of Noname’s famous rhymes and verses. Before Coloring Book fame, she also collaborated with Chance on his Acid Rap mixtape in the song “Lost,” and on Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s Surf in the song “Warm Enough.”
Since this was a show a small show at a small college, there was a very nonchalant-ness to it. Noname came on stage casually, introduced herself to the 150ish people there and began by talking about her 2016 debut album Telefone. Though she has had plenty of features in the past, this was the album that put her on the map. During her quick one hour set, she rapped most if not all of the songs on the ten track album. In between each song, it genuinely felt like she was having a conversation with the crowd. The could’ve been due to the small venue, or turn up but it made for such an intimate show.
Before breaking into music and focusing on rap, Noname was an open-mic poet in South Side. This explains so much of why her style is relaxed and laid back, full of unending rhymes that drip from her mouth with ease. For Noname it’s like her verses just come out as an effortless involuntary act. She is a kind of female rapper that doesn’t look for success in aggression or hype, rather it’s in that more R&B type style in which she creates her gold.
Throughout songs like “Diddy Bop” and “All I Need” not only was she able to showcase her sweet verse but how it perfectly lines up with the way the music is sonically. Through each song Noname was rapping along with the crowd, almost like we were singing her songs in the car with her. On more than one occasion, she would add a verse of new material while a familiar melody played behind her full of mellow keys, bass, and guitar. She even graced the crowd with a quick little Kanye cover of his song “Heard Em’ Say” which was fun surprise and definitely got some old school Kanye fans excited.
Noname is currently on her Everything is Everything tour so be sure to check out where you can catch one of her shows! If you’re a fan of anything from rap, to hip/hop to R&B or soul, Noname is definitely worth checking out and keeping on your radar.