Noname has been on late-night TV before. Two years ago, when her friend and collaborator Chance The Rapper was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live, he brought Noname to the stage, and they performed “Finish Line/Drown” together. Noname’s entrance — giddy and self-conscious and embarrassed, grinning huge while doing a little two-step dance to the center of the stage — is something I’ll always remember. It’s maybe the main mental image I have of Noname, and it’s probably also my favorite SNL performance of the past few years. But up until last night, Noname had never been on TV by herself.
Last month, Noname self-released her full-length solo debut Room 25. It’s great. And last night, she was the musical guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, where she ran through a three-song medley of the Room 25 tracks “Blaxploitation,” “Prayer Song,” and “Don’t Forget About Me.” She performed with her touring band, and while live-band performances can be an uncomfortable leap for a lot of rappers, Noname seemed absolutely at home with them. It’s the only way she should ever perform.
That same dizzy, nervous energy that Noname brought to that SNL performance was fully evident on Colbert last night. She seemed so happy, and also so self-conscious — like she she wasn’t sure she knew what she was doing on that stage but like she knew it was a good thing and she was going to make the most of it. She rapped her ass off, too, of course. Her giggle at the end of the performance just killed me. Watch the performance below.
The self-released Room 25 is out now.