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Track Review: NoName-“Casket Pretty”

Ben Noble, Editor-In-Chief

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No matter how cliche the sentiment has become as of late, NoName is not a rapper. The Chicago emcee’s work may resemble hip hop in the purely aesthetic sense, but the substance of her music is a different beast. NoName’s tend to resemble spoken word, with bars cascading one after another, eschewing hooks for thematic motifs, playfully changing rhyme scheme with no respect to structure. Breaking out with a mesmerizing verse on Chance the Rapper’s “Lost,” NoName (who at the time went by NoName Gypsy) became a star in the Chicago rap scene. However, year after year, promises of a release were made but no music ever materialized. Now with her long awaited debut mixtape Telefone finally released, NoName has more than made good on her potential, and “Casket Pretty” makes it more apparent than ever. Built off syncopated snap percussion while whistling synths provide the main healthy, NoName proclaims “All of my (removed) casket pretty, ain’t no one safe in this happy city.” Inner city violence has been a lyrical touchstone for most new school Chicago rappers, with contributions ranging from Chief Keef’s semi-cogent shout outs to dead homies to Vic Mensa’s dense lyrical acrobatics. NoName opts for a more meditative approach, operating in simple but profound worries like “I hope to god that my tele don’t ring,” and letting the silences between beats do the talking, acting as a punctuation mark that makes your stomach drop. With these silences, NoName truly lets her poetic roots show, treating the track as slam poetry with an instrumental that simply follows her tempo. “Casket Pretty” hits all the same notes that made Chance the Rapper’s “Paranoia” so impactful all those years ago (and what made “Summer Friends” fall flat on its face). While it may have taken a few years for NoName to reach the conclusion she wanted to make, it was more than worth the wait.

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Track Review: NoName-“Casket Pretty”