Morgantown, W.Va. – For the first time in our nation’s history, the United States Army Field Band has Hip-Hop vocalists.
For the new roles, the army chose Morgantown artist Lamar Riddick and Nicholas Feemster, aka NICOFEEM. To commemorate this new chapter, the army hosted a swear-in ceremony for the two artists at the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre on Nov. 7.
The ceremony was toward the end of the concert from the WVU Wind Symphony titled“Let’s Dance.” The symphony was guest conducted by Colonel Don Schofield, commander/conductor of The United States Air Force Band. After the concert and swear-in, a brief reception was held.
“I’m most excited about seeing what new opportunities open up since this is the first time anyone has had this position. I’m also excited to work together with Lamar,” Feemster said. “We are similar in our subject matter and how we approach music, so it’ll be interesting to see what we’ll create.”
Feemster is an artist with a passion for mental health. Illustrating the impact music can have on mental health, he spearheaded a global social media campaign titled #letjustbehonest2020 in partnership with the Black Mental Wellness Corporation. Feemster has also been published in European media and has had his lyrics added to high school and college curriculum. His core fanbase stretches across the world and will continue to grow in the coming years.
As an artist, Riddick aims to revive the present-day culture and the music industry through entertaining and change eliciting music. In 2019, the Eddy Awards awarded Riddick with the Hip-Hop Artist of the Year award in 2019 for his work in Morgantown. While living there, Riddick plugged himself into the city and shined as a representative of West Virginia Hip-Hop. With Revive Collective, Riddick offers students internships to contribute to future generations.
“This opportunity with the army has God written all over it. The potential to impact the world through Hip-Hop, not just as a musician, but as a believer in Jesus is incredible. Then there representing Black and Hip-Hop culture and Jesus in the correct way. It’s such an amazing opportunity,” Riddick said.
Before they move to Maryland for boot camp, U.S. Army Hip-Hop vocalists Nicholas Feemster and Lamar Riddick will be joining West Virginia University’s Center for Black Culture and Research for a discussion. The conversation will take place at the JG (Gluck) Theatre in the WVU’s Moutainlair on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.