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Noname has already caused a bit of a stir with “Self,” the intro to her new album Room 25. The line that’s been getting people excited is “my pussy wrote a thesis on colonialism.” The line, and the whole song, are her responding to the people who label her as either a conscious or a backpack rapper. Now, she may be conscious in the literal sense that she’s aware of politics, but this music isn’t preachy, it’s personal. It’s also lyrically miles ahead of almost all rap that’s been released this year: “Y’all really thought a bitch couldn’t rap, huh? Well maybe this your answer to that.”
The lyrics here are almost too good, to intricate. As Doreen St. Félix put it in the New Yorker, “I found myself selectively filtering out anything that wasn’t Noname’s voice. She’s just too dexterous, too nimble, too wise to pay attention to much else.” Listen below:
Maybe this the album you listen to in your car
When you driving home late at night
Really questioning every god, religion, Kanye, bitches
Maybe this is the entrance before you get to the river
I had him before the heathen no reason for you to like me
Maybe this your wifey just wanting a clean divorce
The baby ain’t really yours, that’s really for babies teething
The chicken wings under-seasoned
Y’all really thought a bitch couldn’t rap huh?