Sammus’s Story

The Ithaca rapper (and Cornell University grad student) known as Sammus has opened up about her struggle with depression in an article by Dexter Thomas in the Los Angeles Times. The article gives the background to Sammus’ recent single and video, “1080p.” As Thomas explains, “‘1080p’ is about relationships, school and life, but it’s mostly about Sammus’ battle with depression, pills and thoughts of suicide.” Watch the video, it’s powerful.

Thomas was moved to tears by the song. He and Sammus (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) were close friends at Cornell, but she had hidden her pain:

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me they feel guilty for not realizing what was happening to me,” she said. “But that just shows the lengths I took to insulate myself. I did a lot of work to make sure that nobody knew what I was struggling with. I knew you would never judge me. But I just wasn’t ready to have those conversations. Not with you, not with anybody. I was very intentional about projecting myself as a very happy-go-lucky person.”

Thomas asks himself: “Do I have other friends who are struggling without my realizing it?”

Check out Sammus’ website for more about her story and her music.

Sammus has two upcoming gigs in Ithaca:

July 20: CFCU Summer Concert Series on the Bernie Milton Pavilion stage in the Ithaca Commons.

August 4: Ithaca Underground concert at the Sacred Root Kava Lounge and Tea Bar.

1080p by Sammus

Verse 1
I’m kind of scared of the academy
I think that my parents are proud of me
I just wish I knew how to be comfortable here —
I never feel like I’m allowed to breathe
Rubbing shoulders with these old nerds
Rockin’ sweater vests in they office hours
Eatin’ hors d’œuvres while I soul search
Tryna make some sense of the ivory tower
Feelin sober
Am I just a coward?
Or a poser?
I don’t really doubt it
Or a soldier?
Books in holsters
But the setting sucks I can’t fight the power
Cuz they write books nobody reads
For these white folks that they tryna please
Recycle all the right quotes tryna cite blokes ain’t my cup of tea
Eatin’ chex mix
Feelin’ helpless
I really miss my fuckin’ ex it’s
Such mindfuck
Cuz we never talk
Yet we still share a fuckin’ Netflix
And every day I apologize
To the poor kid that we never had
The emotion of the whole thing
Make me so sick
It’s fucking sad
What you don’t get is how focused
That I had to be cuz you couldn’t provide
Mad at me cuz I’m losing my mind
Had to leave at a terrible time
Prednisone — I can barely breathe
Now the pressure gone but I barely sleep
So I ring your phone but you don’t respond
Had to put myself in some therapy
Now my Therapist she take care of me
Like Sierra mist things are clear to see
Now I’m seeing the world in 1080p x2

Chorus: Voicemail Message

Verse 2
Been a few months since the last verse
Since I called you bad words
I went ahead and got my masters
I trimmed the last of my relaxer
So my fro big
Got some mo’ gigs
My cell phone says I’m roaming
Cuz I’m on tour
I want more
Forget home so I go big
I was taking pills up in the bathroom
— ended up alone in grad school
I’m Mario I busted ass but
My prize is sitting in another castle
In a tight spot trying to disappear
I would write songs for my friends to hear
—-I’m tryna keep my lights on
I’m a Nikon now it’s crystal clear
Opportunity is at my doorstep
So I’m moving back up on the horse like
It’s the first time I ever wore specks
Now I do my thing like life’s a Rorschach
I see things nobody sees
Since my bee stings turned to double ds
I’m conceding
That my feelings
Is amazing
Now I’m lovin’ me!
I could give it up where’s the fun in that?
Gotta live it up or you will never laugh
Life’s a box of chocolates with a lot of options
Gotta keep it rocking life’s a rumble pack
The first letter of your first name
Makes your name emerge when I search things

And it hurts me but I guarantee
That without you I’m a better me
Now I see the past with some clarity
Glad I took my ass to some therapy
Now I’m seeing the world in 1080p x2

Chorus: Voicemail