Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the U.S. Army is pulling up too. The festivities date back to a block party that unfolded in the Bronx 50 years ago on August 11, 1973. Hip-hop has been an outlet for self-expression and creativity ever since. It took a while, but now rap is the most streamed and influential genre in the world. The genre has seen an epic rise that now extends into the Army, where two talented rappers are showcasing their skills as full-time members of the Army Field Band.

The band brings Staff SGT. Lamar Riddick and Staff SGT. Nicholas “Nico” Feemster into the fold as the first-ever rappers in Military history. “I thought the Army was just people fighting, you know, people wearing uniforms, going overseas, being deployed, [and that] you’re always told what to do and that there’s not room for any kind of creativity or freedom of expression,” Staff SGT. Nicholas “Nico” Feemster says. “And that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“There’s unlimited resources that can just enhance what you’re trying to do,” Riddick adds. “That’s what makes me and Nico so dangerous.”

While life as a rapper can open many doors for opportunity, having the Army become part of their creative goals has helped them in continuing to follow their dreams. They were encouraged to put their passion into action by becoming a member of the band.

Using a high-tech studio and tapping in with their bandmates, Riddick and Feemster show off their talents on the mic as they create “Basic,” a track they’re all set to perform at their impromptu 50th anniversary of hip-hop show. On the song, they keep things simple when it comes to the essentials of life to not lose track of what’s important. Putting their experiences into the lyrics is the focus, which is what plenty of rappers across history have done, regardless of background.

Staff SGT. Riddick and Staff SGT. Feemster connect with their team to serve up a performance that’s all their own. Pulling from great hip-hop artists of the past and their new musical connection with the Army, these rappers are doing things their way by turning their rhymes into stories that resonate.

Watch Staff SGT. Riddick and Staff SGT. Feemster’s journey as they create, rehearse, record and prep for a show in the video below.

This editorial is presented by GoArmy.

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