Noname, “Diddy Bop” (ft. Raury & Cam O’bi)

Rapper, poet, and Chance The Rapper collaborator Noname Gypsy has finally released her debut solo mixtape, Telefone. On it Noname asserts herself as an affective emcee, quick to convert her acute observations in poignant prose. She’s continued her streak of great verses from Chance projects and one off singles such as ‘Lost,” and “Israel,” drawing apt comparisons to Digable Planets’ Ladybug Mecca. The Telefone standout “Diddy Bop,” is a perfect display of her lyricism, as Noname recalls the childhood that formed her, over smooth production from Phoelix and Cam O’bi, and a vocal assist from Raury. Noname here reminisces the innocence of youth, for a childhood that she notes was plagued by trying times, but not eclipsed by the optimism and spirit of her neighborhood. The nostalgia for the 90s that has been a key component of the appeal of Chance and his contemporaries, is integral in Noname’s music. Sampled mbira, xylophone, and children piano are incorporated on several of the cuts on Telefone, including “Diddy Bop.” For some ears this choice of instrumentation stirs memories of children’s television in a post-Graceland environment. The incorporated worldbeat, afrobeat, and various African genres established the aesthetic of Zooboomafoo, the Rugrats, Arthur, and the Lion King soundtrack among others. By marrying this with synths that sound lifted from the 1996 R&B top 40, the longing for a more innocent 90s is achingly evident.