SAMMUS: Pieces in Space: CD

Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, known as Sammus, is a rapid-fire rapper based in Ithaca, N.Y. Her latest release, Pieces in Space, skewers internet anonymity, adulthood, nerd culture, anxiety, and the pitfalls of higher education. Her words are vital and prescient, her delivery urgent and fluid, and her beats precise but never robotic. On “Perfect, Dark,” an outcry for black female role models, Sammus spits, “Black girls want to have a hero, too / All kids trying to get that mirror view.” The beat drops and her voice closes the song—an electric performance that distinguishes Sammus from other rappers because she isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and courageous at the same time. But on “Childhood,” the Weezer-inspired (trust me, compare it to “Holiday”) chorus melody and lyrics demonstrate Sammus’s dichotomy: songs that don’t pull punches but are nonetheless hook-laden and catchy. This is one my favorite releases of 2016. Get into it. –Sean Arenas (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)