Ithaca, New York rapper/producer Sammus released Infusion today, her third EP and fifth studio project. The NuBlack Music Group signee is planning an as-of-yet unnamed album for later this year, but dropped Infusion to “transition new and old listeners” to a new sound, she said via e-mail.
The six-track EP showcases Sammus’ well-known affinity for video games and cartoons, but also reflects on a topsy-turvy 2015. “1080p” sets the tone for the project, with Sammus lamenting a failed relationship, the loss of a child, and anxiety about her future. Sammus says “1080p” was the “most cathartic” song of the project, a track so personal she often tears up while performing. The video for “1080p” is as captivating as the song, offering a POV glimpse into a day in Sammus’ life.
Along with dropping Infusion, Sammus is premiering “Mighty Morphing”, the second video from the project. The empowering song was inspired by an episode of LA-Based MC Open Mike Eagle‘s “Secret Skin” podcast. During the episode, Eagle admits that his “Mef’s Lament” track was a counter to an unnamed journalist’s assertion that gangster rap is the most “authentic” representation of Blackness. Eagle noted that the journalist’s statement “devalues [his] experience as a Black American.”
As a first-generation Congolese-Ivorian who was frequently told she “acted white“ as an adolescent, Sammus notes relation to Eagle’s sentiment. At the time, she was dealing with significant qualms about her identity.
“I sometimes found myself wondering whether my experience was authentic enough to represent in this art form based on internalized assumptions about what a rapper looks and sounds like,” Sammus recalls. Her anxiety was compounded by being a Black woman in a genre that so often marginalizes their dynamism.
Eagle’s words invigorated her, leading her to write a song proudly declaring, “I’m not one thing, I’m not two things…I’m mighty morphing.”
For the music video, Sammus was inspired by Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” visual. Much like in “1080p”, the camera is focused tightly on Sammus, who drives down around depicting various aspects of her personality. She’s hipster-esque with her clear glasses and gameboy. She’s club-bound in her red dress and bob hairdo. She enjoys E-40, but also “fuck with Joy Division.”
These seemingly simple declarations are revolutionary affirmations of a woman unbound by anyone’s expectations. “Given the content of ‘Mighty Morphing’, I knew the music video should similarly call attention to my multiple identities,” Sammus says. “I wanted to draw on ‘Ironic’ both as a reference to the fact that I grew up knowing way more about rock than rap, and also because it’s one of my favorite visual representations of the complexity in one person.”
Infusion is available now on Sammus’ Bandcamp. You can stream it below.