If Damu Fudgemunk, a combination of his love for kung-fu flicks and Willy Wonka, were a student at Hip-Hop University he’d be on the Dean’s List. Even though he’s in his early 20s, Damu’s sound is heavily influenced by icons DJ Premier, Diamond D, and more ‘90s hip-hop technicians. With his recently released instrumental albums, Spare Time, and Overtime, Damu has begun to define his own place in 2008.
Born and raised in Washington D.C., Damu’s parents were both classically trained musicians; his mother was a pianist and his father was a drummer. Yet, he wasn’t quick to tell them about his affinity towards music. “When I got to junior high school that’s when I knew I wanted to do music,” Damu says in his calm voice. “Even then I kept it a secret. Your parents are always trying to claim what you get from them. You get their eyes, their nose, etc.”
Initially, he started MCing but chances are a shy MC isn’t going to be heard. Realizing that his passion laid behind the beat, Damu quickly started absorbing every song he could hear—sample by sample and drum pattern by drum pattern.
“Once I understood how hip-hop worked I started doing graffiti, buying records and wanted to DJ,” says Damu, who now owns around 10,000 records. “Some of my [production] influences were K-Def, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, RZA, DJ Premier, Erick Sermon—that was the core music I was listening to in 1998. From a sample standpoint I was into Kool & The Gang, James Brown, Frank Zappa, Bob James…the list goes on.”