Jack Carenza - August 11, 2023

Noname: ‘Sundial’ Album Review

Noname’s latest opus, Sundial, marks a significant juncture in her evolving musical trajectory. Revered for her preceding accomplishments, notably the lauded mixtape Telefone and debut album Room 25, Noname has emerged as an emblematic figure in contemporary rap, a distinction accompanied by the multifarious conundrums of artistry and celebrity. Sundial, has materialized as an exceptional testament to her undeniable poetic prowess.

Despite its brevity, encompassing a mere 11 tracks condensed within a 32-minute duration, Sundial resonates as a compendium of depth and complexity. The album serves as a dynamic vessel through which Noname confronts her internal quandaries while also engaging in trenchant social commentary.

Noname – Sundial

Musically, Sundial stands as a veritable tapestry of sonic innovation. The audacious incorporation of disparate guest artists.  Common, billy woods, $ilkmoney, and Eryn Allen Kane, imbue the album with an unforgettable eclectic cadence.

Paramount to the album is its compositional collaboration with Saba, Noname’s longstanding artistic partner, whose contributions as co-producer to two tracks lend a symphonic coherence to the album. Equally, noteworthy is the ensemble of relatively obscure producers, whose sonic ingenuity underscores the experimental ethos permeating the record.

The auditory trajectory of Sundial traverses diverse terrains, while melding Noname’s incisive lyricism with intricately orchestrated compositions. The album resonates as an intellectual exercise, as it beckons audiences to engage with its thematic richness. Noname’s wit, vision, and exploration intertwine seamlessly with her societal critique, resulting in an engendered dialectical synergy that elevates Sundial beyond a mere collection of tracks.

Take the opening track, black mirror, for instance. The song’s entrancing harmonies and instrumentation set a serene backdrop, reminiscent of an island getaway. However, Noname’s rapping takes the narrative in a strikingly different direction. This juxtaposition highlights the euphoric with the profound. The type of unforgettable contrast that last long after the track ends.

boomboom, featuring Ayoni occupies another distinctive place within the narrative of the album, standing as an embodiment of freedom and self-discovery. Ayoni’s entrancing vocals and Noname’s poetic lyricism tell a tale of empowerment, growth, and authenticity. Continuing to push forward themes of this backward world we live in. “Really, I’m independent but steadily flip-flops, cyclops./Good cop murdered a bipoc/I’m black, I’ve been black, fuck what you thought/Fuck what they taught and fuck what they teach.”

Aside from being one of the album’s most sonically pleasing tracks, Toxic delves into the complexities of broken relationships and the empowerment that comes from breaking free from their grip. The lyrics depict a woman’s realization of her own worth and her decision to no longer tolerate mistreatment. Containing, once again, some dope quotables.  “I stole your time, you stole my time
We’ll never get it back/Happy for the 20/20 vision and the artifact.” 

Noname’s lyrical energy remains unrelenting. Moreover, she fearlessly tackles subjects ranging from Politics to Black Culture, romantic relationships, to gender norms. Her adept use of language serves as a call to arms, effectively challenging the very fabric of contemporary American society.

Sundial’s compact duration belies its substantive impact, underscoring Noname’s prowess as an artist of unparalleled depth and significance. It invites listeners into a space where contemplation and catharsis coalesce. Leaving an indelible imprint upon the sonic and emotional landscape.