Sammus at The Haunt in Ithaca, New York in 2015
|Birth name||Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo|
|Born||March 20, 1986|
Rhinebeck, New York
|Origin||Ithaca, New York,|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, songwriter, record producer, teacher|
|Labels||Nu-Black Music Group, Don Giovanni Records|
|Associated acts||Mega Ran, Open Mike Eagle, Xenia Rubinos, Latasha Alcindor, The NPC Collective, Sadie Dupuis, Izzy True, Chance Fisher, Gym Class Heroes|
Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo (born March 20, 1986), known as Sammus, often stylized as SΔMMUS, is an American underground rapper, former teacher, and record producer.
Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo was born in Rhinebeck, NY to an Ivorian mother and Congolese father. (Patrice Lumumba, former Prime Minister of Congo, was her great uncle.) Her parents, both professors, moved her family to Ithaca, NY at an early age, her mother teaching at Cornell University and her father at Wells College.
She began producing music in highschool under the name DJ Eno, first using the PlayStation program MTV Music Generator, and the digital audio workstation Reason to create beats. When she was trying to pick a new name for herself, a friend recommended the name Samus, after the main character of the Metroid series of games, since both are women in male dominated genres.
Sammus holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University. She then worked full-time as teacher, in Houston, Texas for Teach for America. Sammus then returned to Cornell in Fall 2011 to pursue a PhD in Science and Technology Studies. She has since received her MA in Science and Technology Studies in 2015. In 2019, she completed her degree in absentia while living in Philadelphia.
Sammus' influences started with her older brother Disashi (currently a member of Gym Class Heroes), who exposed her both to video games and alternative rock bands like Weezer and Nirvana. In addition, Sammus has stated that she has been heavily influenced by Kanye West, particularly his debut album The College Dropout:
It just hit me at the right time. I was about to go into college, and I think prior to that album dropping, I hadn't felt like I could have a voice in hip hop. What [was] represented were two sides of the spectrum: you had 'I have a lot of money, and I do a lot of cool things with my money'—hip hop that was on MTV—and then there was the super lyrical, very conscious, Mos Def, 'let's talk about the system.' And I didn't feel qualified to contribute to any of that discussion, because my problems were kind of like: 'uhh, I don't want to go to school...' And here was Kanye West talking specifically about 'I don't want to go to school!'— Sammus, The Ithacast
Sammus released her debut EP Fly Nerd in 2010. She followed up with the album M'Other Brain in 2012. After Mega Ran was exposed to Sammus' music, the two began collaborating. In 2013, within a few hours of releasing her second album, Prime, it became the bestselling rap album on Bandcamp. In December 2013, Sammus launched a Kickstarter campaign for her fourth album, a concept album based on Metroid. This album, Another M earned her fans of the nerdcore subgenre. In various interviews and social media, Sammus has clarified that she doesn't identify herself as a nerdcore rapper, but appreciates that nerdcore fans often develop a broader appreciation of hip hop through her music: "I’m learning that label helps them to enter the genre. They come into hip-hop through nerdcore, and after they listen to someone like me, they say, ‘Okay, hip-hop’s not so scary. I can listen to more of this.’"
Sammus has toured the U.S. with Mega Ran on the Rappers with Arm Cannons tour in 2015. She has performed at the SXSW Music Festival since 2015, the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX East) in 2015, Geek Girl Con in 2014 and 2015 with plans to return in 2016. She has also performed at the east coast's music and gaming festival, MAGfest, in 2015 and 2016. In June 2017 she performed at McCarren park in Greenpoint Brooklyn as part of the Northside Festival.
- 2010 - Fly Nerd (EP, self-released)
- 2012 - M'Other Brain (NuBlack Music Group)
- 2012 - Reset: Instrumentals (self-released)
- 2013 - Prime (NuBlack Music Group)
- 2013 - Nerdcore Instrumentals: Castlevania Edition (with DJ Cutman)
- 2013 - Castlevania: The Nocturnal Cantata (Joypad Records)
- 2014 - Another M (NuBlack Music Group)
- 2014 - Nerdcore Instrumentals 2 (with DJ Cutman)
- 2016 - InFusion (EP, NuBlack Music Group)
- 2016 - Pieces in Space (Don Giovanni Records)
- Hassell, Kristine (December 9, 2013). "Creative Corner: SAMMUS". GeekGirlCon.
- The Ithacast (May 6, 2015). "Meet 'Sammus,' an Ithaca rapper with rising star power". The Ithaca Voice. Cite journal requires
- shoom (June 17, 2014). "Episode 11 w/ Sammus". in the mix with shoom.
- "No. 53 - Ladies Night Feat. Sammus & Girl Gone Geek". Fan Bros Show. June 5, 2014.
- Mirk, Sarah (December 18, 2014). "Geek Girls". Popaganda. Bitch Media.
- Stephens, Alexis (October 11, 2013). "Gee Whiz: Rapper/Producer Sammus Has Got Game". MTV Iggy. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- DiPietro, Louis (February 11, 2014). "Revelation: Sammus". The Ithaca Times. p. 17.
- "Game Changer". b.spirit: 17. July–August 2014.
- Herimbi, Helen (August 2013). "She Got Game". AfriPOP!. Archived from the original on 2015-03-25.