Damn man, Noname played not one, but two doggone shows in D.C. this month and both sold out before I could get in. I’m distraught.
Born Fatimah Nyeema Warner and hailing from the magical Midwestern locale of Chicago, Noname is a rapper who has been on a meteoric rise since her arrival in the mid-2010s, gaining an enthusiastic cosign from Chance and winning praise and attention from all corners for her work. If I had to describe her music in one word (and that’s something I rarely do if you can tell by this site), it would be heartfelt. Noname takes a gentle, honest, and conversational approach to her music, talking about her life, her doubts, her aspirations, and more. There’s a palpable sense of vulnerability and earnestness in her words. Noname is extremely reflective and introspective, and every line feels weighty. It’s apparent she puts her all into her words, and nothing is an afterthought. Two albums deep, she’s only gotten better at it.
On her 2016 debut mixtape Telefone, Noname makes a wonderful introduction, with an easygoing, spirited vibe. It’s uplifting, snappy, and soulful, and feels very reassuring. One of my favorite songs from this tape–hell, one of my favorite songs of recent memory, is this particular listen right here: “Diddy Bop.”
“Diddy Bop” is a warm hug, a wave of nostalgia as Noname and guests Raury and Cam O’bi reminisce on simpler times as kids, playing around, trying to stay out of trouble, and having summer days in the city last forever. The beat is absolutely angelic, and the harmonies brought by Raury and Cam elevate the track even higher. The rose-tint of this listen takes me way back and makes me feel at peace.