Noname’s ‘Telefone’ both entertaining and innovative

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Noname’s “Telefone” is the artist’s first mixtape. Noname, who also goes by Noname Gypsy made a splash in the rap community by being a feature in Chance the Rapper’s hit mix tape “Acid Rap” The recorded landed on the number one spot of Rolling Stone’s 10 best mixtapes of 2013.

Since then Noname has been featured on numerous other Chance projects and cemented her place and her style in rapping culture.

“Telefone” is a non-aggressive and light mix tape. This is a stark difference from the usual projects that try to sound larger than life or that try to brag about how much better their life is. For example Lil Yachty’s album “Lil Boat”.

The instrumentals are bouncy, airy and it sounds sweet. They would imply that the lyrics behind them are happy and fun. However, this is not always the case, for example, the opening track.

“Telefone” starts out with “Yesterday.” It begins with a crazy synth and a simple percussion loop. It sounds like it’s going to be a cheery song. This is not the case. The lyrics are talking about Noname’s passed grandmother and how her death made her realize that the material things in life aren’t all that matter. The song also goes into Noname lamenting about the death of her mentor, Brother Mike. Overall, this song is indeed a sad song, the instrumentals might make you think otherwise.

This project is not all sad though. In fact, the third track and personal favorite of mine “Diddy Bop,” is about nostalgia and Noname reminiscing about her past. This track is very honest, Noname isn’t looking at the past through rose colored glasses. She admits that mistakes were made in her past and that they happened. These mistakes didn’t stop her from having fun though. She explores the good and the bad of her childhood and I can relate with that to some degree.

This project sounds great and the instrumentals are awesome. The features on this record are talented and are a great addition to the music. The keyboarding is amazing.

However, like most things, this mix tape does not come without its shortcomings. For one, Noname sounds extremely unengaging. She is really quiet and that would be fine but sometimes it gets slow. She also stops rapping like in the track “All I Need” which is weird and awkward. This can be forgiven because she said herself “I wanted to have all of that awkwardness and laughter and the moments of silence where it’s like, ‘Ugh, this is really awkward and I don’t know what to say right now.’”

Overall, I like this record a lot and I find myself listening to its entirety once a week and it some cases, once a day. It’s soulful, pleasant and it’s fresh. I highly recommend this to anyone.

I’d give this mixtape a 9/10.

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