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Room 25 is the debut studio album[4] by American hip hop recording artist Noname. Recorded in about a month's time, the album chronicles the two years since the release of Noname's debut mixtape Telefone, most notably her move from Chicago to Los Angeles and an intense, short-lived romantic relationship.[2][5]

Room 25
Room 25 cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 14, 2018[1]
RecordedJuly–September 2018[2]
Genre
Length34:49
Producer
  • Phoelix
  • Noname[3]
Noname chronology
Telefone
(2016)
Room 25
(2018)
Factory Baby
(TBA)

Room 25 was executive produced by Phoelix, who previously worked as a producer on Telefone. It features guest appearances by Ravyn Lenae, Smino, Saba, Phoelix, amongst others. The album was self-released through digital services on September 14, 2018.[1] The album was met with universal acclaim from critics.[6]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Following the release of her debut mixtape Telefone, Noname embarked on a headlining tour, after which she moved to from her native Chicago to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, she also experienced her first sexually active relationship. On the experience, she compared her maturity on Room 25 to Telefone, saying "Telefone was a very PG record because I was very PG. I just hadn't had sex." In Los Angeles, Noname also participated in the local comedy scene, a community that influenced the humorous tone found on Room 25.[2]

Unlike Telefone, Room 25 was created due to a financial obligation. Noname said in an interview, "It came to a point where it was, like, I needed to make an album because I need to pay my rent. 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." Noname paid for the entire album herself using money from touring and guest appearances on Chance the Rapper projects.[2]

In July 2017, Noname announced that her follow-up to Telefone would be titled Room 25.[7] In June 2018, Noname tweeted that she was "excited" to release new music, under the project name Room 25.[8] In August 2018, she announced a September release date.[9]

Artwork and titleEdit

The album's cover art was revealed on September 10, 2018 along with the album's release date.[10] The artwork was created by Chicagoan artist Bryant Giles.[11]

The album's title is in reference to Noname's lifestyle while in Los Angeles, living out of different hotel rooms, and that she was 25 years old at the time.[5]

Following accusations of sexual and physical assault against Giles, the artist whose artwork is featured as the album cover art, Noname has stated that she intends to change the artwork in support of victims, tweeting: "I do not and will not support abusers, and I will always stand up for victims and believe their stories."[12] Giles was arrested on October 8 on the domestic battery charge for allegedly grabbing girlfriend Ellie Danisch by the throat, tossing her against the wall and striking her in the throat with a closed fist, according to authorities.[13] He was found not guilty in January 2019.[14]

Release and promotionEdit

Room 25 was released on September 14, 2018. Following the album's release, Noname announced she would be embarking on a 19-date tour in support of Room 25 starting in January 2019.[15] She performed a three song medley of "Blaxploitation," "Prayer Song," and "Don't Forget About Me" from the album in her solo television debut on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on October 17, 2018.[16]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.6/10[17]
Metacritic93/100[6]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [18]
The A.V. ClubA[19]
Chicago Tribune    [20]
Clash8/10[21]
Consequence of SoundA−[22]
Exclaim!7/10[23]
NME     [24]
Pitchfork8.6/10[25]
PopMatters9/10[26]
Vice (Expert Witness)A[27]

Room 25 was met with widespread acclaim and rave reviews by critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, Room 25 received an average score of 93, based on 17 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[6]

Reviewing the album for The A.V. Club, Dianca London Potts stated that "From beginning to end, Room 25 is a testimony to the power of telling your story and the hope that can be found in doing so without apology."[19] In the review for AllMusic, Paul Simpson claimed "Her complex lyrics are delivered with ease and confidence, and she's backed up by jazzy, sophisticated rhythms and occasional lush string arrangements."[18] Ural Garrett from HipHopDX said that the album "finely tunes the best assets in Noname's artistic toolset while digging further into her own head; anticipating where the rabbit hole journey goes becomes part of the enjoyment."[28]

El Hunt of NME described the album as "flawless", adding that it is "smartly constructed and laced with intricate subtlety."[24] Rolling Stone declared Noname as "One of the Best Rappers Alive" and included her on a list of "Artists You Need to Know".[5] Briana Younger of Pitchfork designated Room 25 as "Best New Music" and wrote that it is "a transcendent coming-of-age tale built around cosmic jazz and neo-soul, delivered by a woman deeply invested in her interiority and that of the world around her."[25] M. Oliver of PopMatters proclaimed the album to be "vintage neo-soul and future rap hand in hand; a soulful sanctuary for those turned off by the austerity of mainstream mumble rap".[26]

Amongst the more critical reviews of the album, M. T. Richards from Exclaim! wrote "If Noname has one glaring weakness, it's a tendency to ramble without ever seeing the need to switch up her rat-tat-tat triplet flow. She does, though, have the rumpled, mellower-than-thou swagger to pull it off, and why complain when Room 25 is the prettiest rap record to come along in months?" XLR8R's Sam Davis suggested Noname hadn't quite achieved her full potential yet: "If “Prayer Song” and “Blaxploitation” are anything to go by, she could yet become a great rapper. For now, she’s a good one."[29]

Room 25 was ranked the 38th best release of the year in The Wire magazine's annual critics' poll.[30] It was voted 7th in the 2018 Pazz & Jop critic’s poll.[31]

Track listingEdit

Track list adapted from Noname's Twitter.[32]

No.TitleLength
1."Self"1:35
2."Blaxploitation"2:13
3."Prayer Song" (featuring Adam Ness)4:18
4."Window" (featuring Phoelix)4:38
5."Don't Forget About Me"3:39
6."Regal"2:48
7."Montego Bae" (featuring Ravyn Lenae)2:44
8."Ace" (featuring Smino and Saba)3:03
9."Part of Me" (featuring Phoelix and Benjamin Earl Turner)3:16
10."With You"2:29
11."No Name" (featuring Yaw and Adam Ness)4:06
Total length:34:49

Notes

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from Noname's Twitter.[3][34]

  • Nonameexecutive production, lead vocals
  • Phoelix – executive production, featured vocals (tracks 4, 9), bass, keys, drums[2]
  • Adam Ness – featured vocals (tracks 3, 11)
  • Ravyn Lenae – featured vocals (track 7)
  • Smino – featured vocals (track 8)
  • Saba – featured vocals (track 8)
  • Benjamin Earl Turner – featured vocals (track 9)
  • Yaw – featured vocals (track 11)
  • Arima Ederra – additional vocals
  • Blake Davis – additional vocals
  • Sophie Dimitroff – additional vocals
  • Luke Titus Sangerman – drums
  • Brian Sanborn – guitar
  • Matt Jones – string arrangement
  • Elton "L10MixedIt" Chueng – mixing, mastering
  • Bryant Giles – artwork

AccoladesEdit

Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
Bandcamp Top 100 Albums of 2018
3
Esquire Top 20 Albums of 2018
4
NPR Top 50 Albums of 2018
5
The Key Top 15 Albums of 2018
2
Treble Top 50 Albums of 2018
4
Vinyl Me, Please Top 40 Albums of 2018
4
Exclaim! Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2018
3

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Room 25 | Noname". Bandcamp. September 14, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kameir, Rawiya (September 11, 2018). "Here comes Noname". The Fader. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Noname (September 14, 2018). "Noname on Twitter: "Big thank you to all my friends who helped me makes this album ☺️"". Twitter. Retrieved September 15, 2018.[non-primary source needed]
  4. ^ Pareles, Jon (September 12, 2018). "On Her Debut Album, Noname Is a Sly Hip-Hop Maverick". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Klinkenberg, Brendan (September 14, 2018). "Noname Is One of the Best Rappers Alive". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Room 25 by Noname". Metacritic. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Q. K. W. (July 5, 2017). "Noname Announces 'Room 25' Album". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Murray, Robin (June 25, 2018). "Noname Announces New Album 'Room 25'". Clash. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Maicki, Salvator (August 7, 2018). "Noname says her new album Room 25 is out in September". The Fader. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Young, Alex (September 10, 2018). "Noname to release new album, Room 25, on Friday". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  11. ^ Valentine, Claire (September 10, 2018). "Noname Announces Long-Awaited Album Drop Date". Paper. Retrieved September 11, 2018. She also shared the album's artwork (created by Bryant Giles) and 11-song tracklist.
  12. ^ "Noname to Change Room 25 Album Cover Following Assault Allegations Against Artist". Pitchfork.
  13. ^ Greene, Morgan. "Chicago rapper Noname to change album art after local designer charged with domestic battery". chicagotribune.com.
  14. ^ Joshua Espinoza (January 25, 2019). "Bryant Giles Releases Statement After Being Found Not Guilty in Domestic Abuse Case". Complex. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Kreps, Daniel (September 15, 2018). "Noname Announces 2019 Tour in Support of 'Room 25'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Minsker, Evan (October 18, 2018). "Watch Noname Perform Room 25 Medley on "Colbert"". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "Room 25 by Noname reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Simpson, Paul. "Room 25 – Noname". AllMusic. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Potts, Dianca London (September 19, 2018). "Noname opens up, and invites us to do the same, on the unapologetic Room 25". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  20. ^ Kot, Greg (September 14, 2018). "Noname's debut brims with resilience, defiance and wanderlust". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  21. ^ Wakefield, Lee (September 26, 2018). "Noname – Room 25". Clash. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  22. ^ Graves, Wren (September 17, 2018). "Noname Turns Every Head in the House on the Compelling Room 25". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  23. ^ Richards, M. T. (September 20, 2018). "Noname: Room 25". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Hunt, El (September 14, 2018). "Noname – 'Room 25' review". NME. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Younger, Briana (September 19, 2018). "Noname: Room 25". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Oliver, M. (September 17, 2018). "Noname Stands Front and Centre of the Movement Redefining the Contours of Rhyme on 'Room 25'". PopMatters. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  27. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 29, 2018). "Robert Christgau on Noname's Poetic Breakthrough". Vice. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  28. ^ Garrett, Ural (September 21, 2018). "Review: Noname's "Room 25" Is A Blissful Stay". HipHopDX. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  29. ^ Davis, Sam (September 18, 2018). "Noname 'Room 25'". XLR8R. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  30. ^ "2018 Rewind: Releases of the Year 1–50". The Wire. No. 419. London. January 2019. p. 36 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  31. ^ "Pazz & Jop: The Top 100 Albums of 2018". www.villagevoice.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  32. ^ Gore, Sydney. "Noname Reveals Official Tracklist for 'Room 25' Album". Highsnobiety. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  33. ^ Alexis (September 15, 2018). "ROOM 25: I Swear Noname Look So Regal". Autostraddle. Retrieved September 17, 2018. With samples from The Spook That [sic] Sat By the Door in Blaxpoitation...
  34. ^ Noname (September 14, 2018). "Noname on Twitter: "Additional vocals by @ArimaEderra @Blake__Davis__ and Sophie Dimitroff"". Twitter. Retrieved September 15, 2018.[non-primary source needed]
  35. ^ Keyes, J. Edward. "The Best Albums of 2018". bandcamp.com. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  36. ^ Miller, Matt (December 20, 2018). "20 Best Albums of 2018". Escquire.com. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  37. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2018". Npr.com. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  38. ^ "The Key's Top 15 Albums of 2018". thekey.xpn.org. December 4, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  39. ^ "Treble's Top 50 Albums of 2018". Albumoftheyear.org. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  40. ^ "The Best Albums of 2018". Vinylmeplease.com. December 19, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  41. ^ "Exclaim!'s Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums". Exclaim!. December 10, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2019.

External linksEdit