Collaborating Authors

Sammus is somewhere between nerdcore and afrofuturism


Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo used to get the same question every time she set down the mic and stepped off the stage. She came to expect it after performing in crowded bars, big music festivals or comic book stores, and the question usually came from a well-meaning stranger or new fan of her music. This would happen right after she'd screamed into the mic that she was Sammus, a producer and rapper, and that everything she just did on stage was her work. The question would come in different forms -- "Where's your boyfriend?" People assumed Sammus didn't produce her own music.

The grandfather kings of nerdcore


In terms of popularity, nerdcore occupies a space somewhere between underground hip hop and the end of the universe, according to rapper and educator Mega Ran. Nerdcore is a brand of hip hop characterized by a focus on geeky things, which means its subject matter is as vast and varied as Tolkien's Encircling Sea. It's niche but limitless; visible but not known. It's big enough to support the musical careers of artists like MC Lars, MC Frontalot, Beefy and MC Chris, yet it's small enough that even the most fervent Star Wars fan may have never heard of it. Even in an age where geek chic is hot and "nerd" is no longer a vicious insult, nerdcore remains underground -- but its influence on popular culture is showing.

Trebek calls contestant loser

FOX News

Alex Trebek had harsh words for one "Jeopardy" contestant on Wednesday night's episode. The TV show host couldn't help but make a snide remark when librarian Susan Cole described her favorite genre of music: Nerdcore. "[Nerdcore is] rapping about the things [nerds] love," the legislative librarian from Bowie, Maryland told Trebek. Trebek wasted no time firing back, "Losers, in other words." Cole responded with a laugh, seeming slightly flustered.

Alex Trebek seriously burns contestant for her music taste


On Tuesday's Jeopardy!, the host delivered a serious burn to an unexpecting contestant. After the contestant explained her love for "nerdcore hip-hop," Trebek took a pause, looked her in the eye, and dropped the hammer. SEE ALSO: J.K. Rowling burns Donald Trump in 3 magical tweets While the contestant tried to define the genre as full of cool people just rapping about their sci-fi interests and how difficult it is to get dates, to Alex, they are just "Losers."

Sammus' hip-hop song about depression and suicidal thoughts that made me cry

Los Angeles Times

But there I was, standing at the back of a cramped venue at this year's South by Southwest festival, doing just that. I don't like crying in public, so it wasn't much solace that a good half of the room was doing the same thing. Sammus, a rapper from Ithaca, N.Y., was performing "1080p," which was at that point her newest single. I'd already watched the video about 10 times that morning. And I'd read the reviews -- writers have called the song "important," "honest" and "powerful."