Noname's First Video Ever Is Right Out of the 1970s

The Chicago rapper is no longer hiding. "Blaxploitation" is a history lesson in black film for one of 'Room 25's' most daring cuts.

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Dec 4 2018, 7:06pm

In the two years since Telefone, Noname's debut, she's never shot a music video. Today, all of that changes. An interview with The Fader says Noname shied away from visuals because of the fear of being photographed, and here she's moving toward something more cinematic. "Blaxploitation," a cut from her latest album Room 25, is her first visual ever which emulates the punchy production derived from the 1970s film genre. The video, directed by Alex Lill, even borrows from the grainy aesthetic of an old movie. The song weaves vignettes of various blaxploitation films together, including 1975's Dolemite. Noname's choice for "Blaxploitation" to serve as her introduction to visuals is a poignant one, considering the caricatures of black life steeped in the genre's history. With the single, she was reclaiming the agency in the for-us-by-us storytelling blaxploitation films pretended to fulfill.

The video is Noname's take on a Godzilla attacking her hometown of Chicago, only this time the oversized figure is a young black boy instead of a green scaly monster. The toddler waddles around, finding his way through the city while the civilians of Chicago (who here, are all portrayed as white) shriek in terror. "Just like Hillary Clinton, who masqueraded the whole system," she raps, which serves as a grave reminder of Clinton's "super predator" comment in the 90s. "Blaxploitation" is a brave debut for Noname, who has still gotten her wish of not being photographed.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.