Drop everything: Noname’s new album, Room 25, has landed.
The hip hop world has been anticipating new material from the buttery-voiced Chicagoan ever since she dropped her critically acclaimed mixtape, Telefone, in 2016. Before that, she had stoked buzz with features on tracks by Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Kirk Knight and others.
Though Noname has since moved to Los Angeles, as chronicled in a profile in The Fader, Room 25 was still made in close collaboration with many of her creative peers in Chicago, including singer Ravyn Lenae on “Montego Bae” and the rapper Saba on “Ace.”
In that same Fader profile, Noname candidly revealed that the creation and release of Room 25 was prompted by financial need. “It came to a point where it was, like, I needed to make an album because I need to pay my rent,” she said. “I could’ve done another Telefone tour, but I can’t play those songs anymore. Like, I could, but I physically hate it because I’ve just been playing them for so long.”
It’s not surprising then that Noname has taken the opportunity to do something different. Room 25 features an expanded sonic palette, with string accompaniment and jazz-leaning instrumentation mingling with the mellow, soulful sound that she and her collaborators developed on Telefone. But some things don’t change: Much like Telefone, Room 25 doesn’t overstay its welcome, its 11 tracks running a concise 34 minutes.
On “Ace,” Noname nonchalantly raps, “Room 25 the best album coming out.” We’re inclined to agree. Stream it below and see what you think: