As was customary for a Blondie album, No Exit dabbled in many genres, including pop, reggae, and hip-hop. Mike Chapman, who had produced all but the first two of Blondie's albums, produced some of the early demos for the album but final production of the album fell to Craig Leon.
A version of The Shangri-Las' 1965 hit "Out in the Streets" was also included on this album. It was originally recorded by the band in 1975 while they were trying to get a record deal. The demo version was first issued on EMI's 1994 anthology The Platinum Collection and was later included on the 2001 remaster of the band's first album, Blondie.
The album reached #3 in the UK charts, where it was certified Gold for sales in excess of 100,000 copies. It was preceded by the hit single, "Maria", which became Blondie's sixth UK #1, exactly twenty years after the band's first number one, "Heart of Glass", making them the first American band to have chart-topping UK singles in three different decades: 1970s, 80s and 90s. A second single, "Nothing Is Real but the Girl", peaked at #26 in the UK. The title track, "No Exit", was released as a limited edition third single in Europe, which is a fusion of classical, hip-hop and rock, and featured raps by Mobb Deep, Coolio, U-God & Inspectah Deck.
The album was released in several editions in different countries with various bonus tracks, mainly live versions of songs recorded during No Exit Tour. The album was also reissued in 2001 along with all other Blondie's studio albums, this time including three bonus tracks.
Chris Stein commented on the title of the album in a 2004 interview: "...The title was taken from a Sartreplay, which says there's no madness in individuals, it's all in groups. I think that's probably what all these reality TV shows are about. Maybe we were a reality TV show before there was reality TV."