Album of the Week: Noname - Sundial | 2023 Week 32
Following delays & controversy, Noname delivers her long awaited sophomore album + new records from G Flip, Jungle, Spencer Zahn, Trippie Redd and more!
The fact that Noname’s second album Sundial has even been released seems like a small miracle in itself after the arduous journey the record has taken to get here, nearly five years since her landmark debut album (which followed her iconic 2016 mixtape, Telefone), Room 25.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this - in 2019, less than a year on from her first album, Noname break the news of her second record, with Factory Baby initially expected in 2021…before Noname announced that she was considering quitting music, which she followed up in 2020 by explaining that she wanted to focus on education and her book club.
After making a return of sorts on an Anderson Paak remix in late 2020, it would be another year before she announced that Factory Baby had been cancelled as she struggled to find any producers she could "genuinely connect with sonically", as well as announcing an indefinite hiatus from music… this hiatus didn’t last all too long, however, as she returned to perform at Pitchfork Music Festival in mid-2022, before playing more festivals including Coachella at the start of this year.
In April we were treated to the news that her second album Sundial would drop in July, with lead single Balloons featuring Eryn Allen Kane and Jay Electronica - the latter of whom was under fire for his support of and ties to antisemitic statements, which Noname pushed back against in a series of tweets. The result was further delays, with the album now set for an August 11 release, AKA Noname’s second album, five years in the making in one way or another, is finally here.
Having found a number of producers she assumedly vibed with, Sundial packs 11 cuts of jazzy, neo-soul style beats courtesy of a number of beatsmiths including longtime collaborator Saba and English multi-instrumental wiz Yussef Dayes providing the soundscapes for Noname and a number of collaborators to wax lyrical over. Ranging from boom-bap influenced sounds to more driving productions, the beats of Sundial sound like peak Noname vibes even on first listen.
Those guests range from the more famous, including the aforementioned Jay Electronica, Common and man of the moment billy woods, as well as emerging artists like viral rapper $ilkmoney and singer-songwriter Ayoni.
A logical next step rather than a revolutionary new record (in a good way!), Sundial is an all around solid record of soulful, jazzy, conscious hip hop that’s sure to please existing fans and make some new fans yet to discover the conversational, rapid fire, witty raps of Noname.
The best of the rest of this week's records:
Andrew Hung - Deliverance [Lex Records] ENG
Fredo - Unfinished Business [PG Records / Virgin Music Australia] ENG
G Flip - DRUMMER [Future Classic] AUS
Indie / Pop
Jungle - Volcano [Caiola Records / AWAL] AUS
Indie / Pop
Move BHC - Black Radical Love [Triple B Records] USA
Public Image Ltd. - End Of World [PiL Official] ENG
Spencer Zahn - Statues I [Sudden Records / Cascine] USA
The Hives - The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons [The Hives AB] SWE
Trippie Redd - A Love Letter to You 5 [1400 Entertainment / 10k Projects / Virgin Music Australia] USA