Chicago rapper Noname (formerly known as Noname Gypsy) has been on our radar for the past three years, since her spotlight-stealing feature on Chance the Rapper‘s second mixtape. Since Acid Rap she’s attached herself to numerous local up-and-coming talents, but never gained the kind of traction I expected from her. The rapper had a habit of dropping one-off tracks only to remove them a few months later. Thankfully, things have changed. Last year, when I saw her open for Bilal at the MoCADA Soul of Brooklyn Festival, Noname told the audience that she’d quit smoking weed. She seemed healthy, happy, confident, and put on one hell of a show. That’s the energy she brings to her newly released mixtape, Telefone, her first-ever project.
The gorgeous 10-track effort features Raury, Saba, theMIND, Xavier Omär, Ravyn Lenae, Joseph Chilliams and production from Cam O’bi, Phoelix and Noname. The guiding hand of gospel is never too far on this mixtape, but unlike Chance’s newest effort–it never feels stifling or overpowering. Supporting themes of electronic soul and R&B-trap motivate Noname’s poignant rhymes, which serve to inspire calmness and clarity. Stream Telefone.