Narrator: Sammus! Emergency order!! Defeat the Metroid of the planet Zebes and destroy the Mother Brain, the mechanical life-form.
Sammus: Ok, I'm on it.
Enongo-Lumumba Kasongo is Sammus. An Ithaca, New York rapper and producer whose namesake is inspired by Samus, the space bounty hunter in the popular Nintendo video game franchise, Metroid. But that's just one layer of this exquisite young talent.
Sammus is also a PhD student in the department of science technology studies at Cornell University, an avid gamer of 8-bit and 16-bit era games, geek, feminist and whatever else constitutes a modern 21st century female. But for some reason, her interests come under the microscope when analyzing the rapper and her songs.
"I didn't like that my brand of hip-hop was being weaponized... (I wanted to) speak to the fact that I like to do a lot of things and I like to listen to a lot of things. I'm not defined by any one of my interests," Sammus says.
And that's the celebrated diverse personality of Enongo. The Metroid references? They're scattered throughout her discography. She even created a dedicated 7 track EP called "Another M" retelling the space bounty hunter from the perspective of a little black girl who dreamed when looking up to strong female characters like Samus or Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut in outer space.
But she can also switch it up –– produce songs with the braggadocious, party-induced style like any of your favorite rappers, but then take a 90 degree turn and drop a song called "Time and Crisis" that reflects on German philosopher Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time." Far from the oft-described "cool hip-hop that talks about geek stuff" kind-of-rapper most critics try to group her in, Sammus has been a main component in the underground hip hop scene for several years.
"There's a lot of different things there that I think for people who don't recognize black folks as complex human beings, that's jarring to them or that's weird to them."
I sat down with Enongo to hear her entire story. How she got into video games, her realization on how dope video game music is (one of her personal favorites: Sonic the Hedgehog 2), how she discovered her "voice" after listening to Kanye West's "The College Dropout." And how her entire academic life reflects on her music and vice versa. Our full interview with Enongo launches Friday at 11am on Circa.com.