Making her solo television debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Noname showed off her vocal gymnastics with a cerebral medley of her Room 25 tracks “Baxploitation,” “Prayer Song” and “Don’t Forget About Me” on Wednesday night (Oct.17).
Born Fatimah Warner, the Chicago rapper serves up a similar flow style to her city peer Chance The Rapper — razor-sharp, contemplative and bullet-quick. A true verbal acrobat, Noname jumps from character to character and captures distinct perspectives while staying true to her ideas and values.
Backed up by an equally gifted band and three back-up singers, the lyricist rocked a rose jumpsuit as she invited the audience into her narrative of self-discovery — shifting from conspiratorial whispers and introspective lines to cheerful rhymes with her thoughtful flow.
In “Baxploitation” she explored being a black woman in a gentrified society with the lyrics, “What is this to you?/ It’s not a matter of color/ Freedom is everybody’s business.” On the same topic, in “Prayer Song” she whirled through her city arriving at the scene of a shooting. “The hood is overflooded, these n—– is on the rise/ Bake a cake with flour, it’s better to gentrify,” she mindfully rhymed.
Getting more personal, in “Don’t Forget About Me” she dove into the worries of black parents in a white America — contemplating her own death with the chorus “I know everyone goes some day/ I know my body’s fragile, know it’s made from clay/ But if I have to go, I pray my soul is still eternal/ And my momma don’t forget about me.”
Watch Noname’s medley on Colbert below.