Bringing The World Home To You

© 2021 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture
WUNC Music
WUNC Music is curated locally with songs that inspire, energize and bring joy to listeners across North Carolina. It’s a place for music discovery and a home to old favorites.

Dom Combines Fife And Drum Music With Early Hip Hop - American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 13

Dom Flemons 'What Got Over' Release
Dom Flemons
Dom Flemons 'What Got Over' Release

When Dom Flemons was in the studio making his album Prospect Hill, the engineer made a casual comment that pushed the material in an unexpected direction. “Maybe you should sell some of those beats to a hip-hop artist!” the engineer quipped. 

Flemons and his collaborator, Guy Davis, had been tracking bass and snare drum duets in the style of traditional fife and drum music. The engineer, connecting these rhythms to hip hop beats, set Flemons’ creative gears into overdrive. What if the style of the recording merged these two seemingly disparate African-American music genres?  

When Flemons and Davis got the rhythm tracks off the shelf at a subsequent session, for What Got Over, they knew exactly what to add. The results combine buoyant emceeing with a skeletal rhythm section of snare and bass drums.  

To Flemons, an omnivorous listener, hip hop has always been on his radar and part of his repertoire. He cut his teeth as a spoken word performer and, at the time of these sessions, was devouring Ed Piskor’s graphic novel on the genesis of hip-hop. Bridging these two genres was a direct extension of his interests.  

In a special bonus episode of American Songster Radio, Flemons revisits three of his beat-based tracks and relates the circumstances of their creation.  

You can download What Got Over for free at Dom’s website.

Related Stories
More Stories