Last year was a great year for women in hip-hop, and a breakout one for New York-based Sammus.
Sammus exists at a pretty interesting nexus of hip-hop crossroads. With East Coast syllable-stacking traditionalism veering into niche indie experimentation, her musical arsenal matches her compelling and uncompromising perspective. Her strong voice is central to one of her most-celebrated tracks, “Time Crisis.”
Sharing a title with the 1995 shooting game franchise, “Time Crisis” is both a raw and nuanced examination of the ever present looming spectre of mortality.
In a genre often, even if subconsciously, obsessed with age – hip-hop is a youth culture, after all – Sammus doesn’t flinch as “Time Crisis” explores all the societal expectations placed on women approaching their 30s.
While the first verse deals with clashing with the behavioral norms, the second strictly focuses on the the physical appearance expectations and motivations in a society where “aging’s an act of resistance.” Ultimately, while Sammus exposes several vulnerabilities throughout the track, at no point does she waver from a focus and delivery that keeps all of “Time Crisis” as ultimately empowering. On International Women’s Day, we shouldn’t expect anything less from the woman whose namesake comes from one of video games’ most memorable feminist moments.
Sammus is in town tonight for a show at Nomad World Pub with K.Raydio and Shelltoe.