Chance The Rapper


THERE’S nun more annoying than a female that raps about being a female who is a rapper. It’s in the ilk of old niggers spitting a bunch of remember raps-rhymes about how they were leaders of the game aeons ago.

Thank rap gods, Noname is neither. She can’t be classified an OG since her latest project, Room 25, is actually her debut album. She released her first mixtape two years ago, the critically acclaimed Telefone.

From the jump, you can feel Phoelix’s influence on this project. Dude has the executive production role in the album and officially features on two tracks. Because of this, the project is more musical than Telefone. It’s kinda bizarre that this is only Noname’s second project.

In the first track Self, she says this project will makes you question your reasoning on religion, relationships and even Kanye. But it’s her second that caught me, where she raps

Mr. Money Man, Mr. Every Day He Got Me

Mr. Wifing Me Down, Mr. Me-Love, Mr. Miyagi

Miscellaneous, Mr. Molly Inside My Sake

Incredible, incredible emptiness in my body

Heaven’s only four-feet tall, I set my ringer to it

Fucked your rapper homie, now his ass is making better music

My pussy teachin ninth-grade English

My pussy wrote a thesis on colonialism

In conversation with a marginal system in love with Jesus

And y’all still thought a bitch couldn’t rap huh?

Maybe this your answer for that good pussy

I know niggas only talk about money and good pussy

The Chicago rapper always spits shit that make you ponder on the extraterrestrial, without forcing it down your throat. Because of her poetry background, Noname always prioritizes the bars, but her Achilles heel is her monotonous flow. She isn’t the overly sexual Nicki Minaj, nor is she rambunctious and hella ghetto as Cardi B, drops bars as a Rapsody but maintains her uniqueness. Her flow is unconventional than most emcees in the industry.

But her music ends up sounding the same, even though it talks to a variety of things. On Ace, with Saba and Smino, Noname holds her own with some of her humorous lines-she has a great sense of humour which always suprises me  because she seems a serious individual.

But because of her flow, she doesn’t lure your ear as Saba and Smino’s verse. She sounds dull next to these colourful rappers. This was the song where she flexed about being a dope all-round artist, but it also presented an opportunity for her to show us the ace up her sleeve in terms of flow. But dololo. The Dillaesque beat on Don’t Forget About Me sounds tailor made for Noname’s nonchalant flow.

This is lullaby music and bumping this album on a long drive to the other side of the country would be enjoyable. It’s good music. Every time I hear her rap, my ear itches to hear that old school Chance The Rapper. This is probably because Chance introduced the world to Noname.

On Montego Bae with Ravyn Lanae, she sounds like a woman out of high school more comfortable with her sexuality and knows herself more than she did when Telefone came out. On her previous album, she spoke about a lost lover on the disheartening Bye Bye Baby, but sounds a happier damsel on Montego Bae.  Noname’s music feels like a hot cup of coffee on a cold day, enjoying it in a cosy warm bed. The track With You captures this feeling and is so relaxing, shame it’s a short song.


It’s quite an artsy fartsy move, to take the most extreme route, to reach your personal dreams. Artists can sometimes get married to their ideas, become oblivious to the strain they’re putting on themselves and those who care for me.

I reminisced on a Jay Electronica verse that he spat on a Chance The Rapper song, How Great, when I heard the story of artist Xolani Mbonani from Kwa-Thema.

In pursuit of their dreams, artists can be quite selfish in how they would shun any advice that differs from the way they see things because of their perfectionist nature. Life never dances to our plans’ tune- it really jives to beat of its own drum, no matter how much we may force it to the dance floor with us. This, brings so much pain and frustration to artists and many creatives, who would have quit a boring nine-to-five or not even searched for one, because of their focus on this big dream they have. Depression, anxiety and for some, suicide are the domino effects when things aren’t going as they had envisioned.

Free spirits-1.2x1m (ACRILIC on paper) 2018. By Xolani

Talking to Mbonani, one gets a different picture of a creative individual. Most artists are idealists, but the Kwa-Thema native is also a realist in how he approaches life. Artists who aren’t even as skilled as he is, would not even dare look for a job because of their ideals. But Mbonani, who holds a three year print making certificate with Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg which he acquired during 1999- 2001, holds down two jobs.  “I’m currently an Estate Agent at Selcourt Estate under Similan Properties. I’m doing two job because of my family,” says the married father of two.

He may have sold you a house, or will in the future, but Mbonani also has an abode in the art space. “I have a studio at August House, studio 1, first floor,” he tells me.

“I paint from the heart. Mainly African portraiture. I’m currently making works that depict my cultural heritage.”

My Ndebele culture -1.2mx1m (ACRILIC on board) 2018. By Xolani

That idea, stuck-out when I first encountered his work, way before I spoke to him. His work is intentional in its  celebration of Africa and its people. “I went to the mountain (initiation school) too many things happen there, stuff that I cannot tell anyone verbally but by means of artwork,” he says.

point of view-1.2x1m (mixed media on board) 2018. By Xolani

Art is about that. Expressing self. Someone will connect to the work because it comes from a sincere place that no one human can really filter.

Mbonani uses mixed media (oil, acrylic and pastel among others) then uses canvas, paper and boards to paint on. “But I mainly like to paint on textured canvas, and I also like making dry-point prints or linocuts.”

“What I love more, is making mural art. Because the wall is like the biggest canvas ever. I express myself better on it than on a smaller scale.”

He is currently preparing for his solo exhibition, together with the Springs Art Gallery, for the end of the year. His work can be viewed at his studio at August House or at his home in Springs.

Strange smile1x700cm (ACRILIC on paper) 2018 By Xolani




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