When: Sat., Nov. 19, 7 p.m. 2016
As this year’s Lollapalooza came to a close, 25-year-old Chicago rapper Fatimah Warner—better known as Noname—dropped her debut mixtape, Telefone, and if memory serves, it began trending on Twitter just as LCD Soundsystem played their ballyhooed headlining set. Whatever the case, Telefone certainly arrived at the right time, its gently rustling percussion, sparkling synths, and humming organs exuding summer at its most ideal. Warm and easygoing, the record conveys the quixotic notion that a moment can feel never-ending even when the finish line is in sight. And though Telefone is trailed by the specter of death, Noname’s affable presence and open-ended lyricism pump her work full of life: the tape is about finding shelter when the lights go dark before they should (“Diddy Bop”); about carrying on when the people you loved are no longer there to share your joy and pain (“Yesterday”); and about finding the strength to live when neighbors, friends, and strangers who share your skin tone—and maybe even a love for your favorite childhood breakfast cereal—continue to perish (“Casket Pretty”). Telefone is so potent it led New York magazine to call Noname “Chicago Rap’s Next Big Thing,” but that’s not the best lens through which to appreciate the rapper. Who cares about status updates when music feels like an intimate conversation with a lifelong friend?