Noname- Room 25 Album Review

(By: Thomas Rodriguez)

Chicago rapper Noname’s Room 25 is a high point of happiness and wit in 2018.


In a world of dark extremes in hip hop today, it’s hard to find a song that isn’t a gritty murder fantasy or steal your girl anthem. True, plenty of those songs end up being great to bang at the club, pump iron to, or just blast in the car, but sometimes you need a break from all the excess energy to just feel warm and fuzzy inside.


Noname brings that warm and fuzzy feeling in spades on Room 25.


Noname got her start as a slam poetry lover, and made her first big time appearance in Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape


When you press play on Room 25,  you’ll hear a song that simply sounds like a pleasant, homemade Chicago dinner made by your favorite grandparents. “Self” is a perfect encapsulation of how solid the album is: its jazzy instrumental is bouncy and fun, Noname’s spoken word delivery is incredibly energetic, and her lyrics are equally hilarious and cute. The happy-go-lucky vibe of the album is consistent throughout, even if the subject matter occasionally gets a touch dark on the surprisingly political “Prayer Song” or heart wrenching “Don’t Forget About Me”. Room 25 only lasts a brisk 35 minutes, but Noname’s witty lyricism leaves no stone unturned; in the span of a few lines her writing can whip you back and forth from racial pride to pickles and pacifists in a completely natural flow, as in the standout “Regal”.


A tiny drawback to Noname’s rapping style is that it’s not changed up too much throughout Room 25, as her spoken word performance can be a bit repetitive from time to time (“With You” doesn’t stand out all too much), but her writing and songmaking choices truly make up for it. “Blaxploitation” has an incredibly funky bassline to back up the racial undertones of the track; it’s absolutely insane to realize that your hips are moving to a political discourse. Meanwhile, the snarky “Window” sounds like the soundtrack to a happy Disney movie with its woozy strings and beautiful hook by Phoelix. Every feature here works as a perfect companion piece to the positive picture Noname paints here: Ravyn Lenae’s sensual singing on “Montego Bae” makes you feel like you’re in a blissful love affair on the Jamaican vacation spot, and Smino and Saba’s contributions on “Ace” are incredibly uplifting and well rapped. The splatter of Chicago artists on Room 25 serve as a perfect backdrop for Noname’s great decision making here.


Room 25 isn’t loud; it’s not begging for the next drink in the party, and it isn’t calling for a reason to fight. Rather, it’s a visit to both the Windy City to Noname’s brain. It’s Chicago through and through, and its jazzy feel and great lyrics leave you feeling as full of happiness as a stomach stuffed with Chicago style deep dish!


Score: 8.8/10


Tracks to Save: “Self”, “Blaxploitation”, “Prayer Song”, “Don’t Forget About Me”, “Montego Bae”, “Ace”

Tracks to Skip: “With You”


Listen to Room 25 here!



Apple Music:


What did you think about this album? Any comments or criticism? Comment down below and let me know; I’d love to hear what you think!