Chicago poet and hip-hop ace Fatimah Warner, AKA Noname, took one month (and lots of “incubation”) to record 2018’s best album: “Room 25.”
The only problem with this confident and honest album is that it is only 35 minutes long. However, its 35 minutes might be its greatest asset. Warner birthed the tightest, most complete album that has something new to say in an abyss of 2018 music that recycled old thoughts, lyrics, and beats.
Yes, Warner is a woman. And no she is not going to play into the stereotype that women rappers are objects. Instead, Warner is open about sex and her body but not the same way others have been before her. She scoffs at many in the industry who continue to play into this narrative. Perhaps her most significant achievement is that Warner finds fresh ways to comment on what is going on in the world. It never comes across as repetitive or old. She managed to call out Chick-fil-a’s anti-LGBT stance, Kanye West, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run and gentrification by offering a new perspective. Never once did you feel you have already heard it.
From its opening tracks of “Self” and “Blaxploitation,” you’re blessed with bouts of intense joy and moments of reflective melancholy. All along your body is moving to the subtle sounds of jazz and soul with a cadence of traditional hip-hop. Warner’s Noname is not the typical rap you hear playing on the radio or in a club; it is so much more. It is a powerful statement for women in music who want to provide more than a stereotype.
Listen to “Room 25” in its entirety, and I promise you’ll be left yearning for more of Noname’s honesty.