Noname tends not to play by the rules. She’s built a career in a few short years by staying her own particular course, opting out of most of the things that young rappers are dying to do. She has, so far, remained stubbornly independent, resisting label advances at every turn, and is yet to make a song that feels like a commercial hit, preferring her cult following. Music videos, also, are a way to stardom — visuals tend to garner more attention (and streams) — but Noname has never put one out, continuing a streak of bowing out of the spotlight whenever possible.
Noname has now released her first music video, but she’s still firmly out of the frame. On Tuesday, the Chicago rapper dropped the “film” for “Blaxploitation,” a quick, frenetic cut from this year’s excellent Room 25. In it, she’s nowhere to be seen. Instead, a giant child frolics through Chicago; they’re as large as a skyscraper and play, nap and destroy their way through the city streets. “Chicago Under Siege,” the television chyrons read, “Monster Baby Must Be Stopped.”
The video is playful and audacious, cut with a melancholic air by the vitriolic reaction to the child. (It turns out that they’re playing in a child-sized city made of cardboard boxes). In short, it has the same feeling as much of Noname’s best music, even if she’s not there.