Noname, the independent rapper from Chicago with one of the year’s most critically lauded albums, made her live television debut Wednesday night on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Instead of picking a single song from her recently released sophomore album Room 25 — a difficult task, given that the project has no obvious singles — she opted to perform a medley on the show, delivering adjusted versions of three songs from the record, backed by a live band and vocalists.
For someone whose music is known for thoughtful, complex rapping, Noname took the live opportunity to play against type, delivering a decidedly energetic performance. “Blaxploitation,” the first song she performed, ran at a more frenetic pace. On “Prayer Song,” a jazz-indebted piece that ebbs and flows over its runtime, Noname ceded her spotlight to the backing vocalists for longer..
The final track she performed, “Don’t Forget About Me,” is a personal, quiet centerpiece of Room 25, and Noname took the opportunity to slow things down for this performance, keeping the hushed, empathetic tone of the original (albeit with some flashier drumming).