Today a friend and fellow hip-hop head, introduced me to Sammus. “Heard of Sammus, she is dope!” “Wait? She? Oh ok, lemme go ahead and check her out.” I asked my friend to provide me with the first song I should listen to. The song he thought served as the best introduction to her sound.

Opening with a string arrangement and synth loop, the dreamy introduction pairs with Sammus’s hard hitting and powerful storytelling. Sammus bears all in “1080p”. Struggles with graduate school and the isolating nature of academia, pain associated with past relationships, and personal growth. What is incredibly captivating about “1080p” is not only the way in which Sammus cleverly integrates Super Mario Brothers into metaphors about life challenges, but her candid recall of her mental health struggles and self- care strategies. She plainly states that she seeks out a therapist, that her therapist helps her during these trying times.

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

Although Sammus highlights many life challenges, she also bestows encouraging words. Sammus takes the listener on a journey, from academic, personal and mental health struggles to one of hope and growth. That and the fact that her mom’s supportive and encouraging voicemail messages are interspersed throughout the track, had me a bit verklempt.

In a time when there is an ever growing number of depictions of women of color seeking mental health support on screen (see Insecure and She’s Gotta Have It), “1080p” serves as a musical reminder that there are resources available to help people of color, especially women of color, with breakups, breakdowns and breakthroughs.

Check out Sammus’s work on Spotify, Bandcamp and Tidal.

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