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Sampa The Great: Bringing Soul From Zambia to Botswana to Australia

Sampa The Great's music is impossible to pigeonhole but is undeniably excellent

19th Jan 2018

Sampa The Great is an artist whose music should certainly be in your playlist, if it isn’t already. Her African roots along with well travelled adult life have lead her music into a unique space most artists could only dream of: complete originality.

The Zambian-born, Botswana-raised, Australian resident creates music that is a blend of such a vast pool of varying artists that it is difficult to place it within a specific genre.

If Sampa’s music were a meal, the recipe would consist of sprinkles, dashs and hints of Erkyah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Terrace Martin, Noname, Smino, Tupac and Lauryn Hill. Yet, mixing all of those talents together wouldn’t create Sampa because it would be missing the secret sauce that sets her apart. That secret ingredient may not be common knowledge but perhaps it’s to do with the fact her African heritage is clearly audible in her music but it fuses so perfectly with other sounds from around the globe.

Most artists now or at least in recent history are easily geographically definable by their music. If it’s 140bpm with distorted bass lines, chances are it’s from England. Rattling hi-hats and booming 808s? My guess would be Atlanta. Lo-Fi samples and boom bap drums are usually found in New York.

The reason Sampa The Great’s music is special isn’t just because it’s an amalgamation of genres, sounds and cultures; it’s because it transcends such genres and cultures. Enabling it to be indulged upon by those from any background or taste in music.

Born Sampa Tembo, the Poet and Hip-Hop artist’s lasts project titled 'Birds and The BEE9' embodies all my previous sentiments.

The rapping is passionate and profoundly poetic, painting vivid imagery with her words. Whilst the instrumentation is soulful, filled with smooth bass, punchy percussion and occasional mind-easing saxophone or piano line. There are also many vocal moments on the project that are truly heaven sent. Glossy hooks and chorus’s from some of the featured artists are outstanding, Sampa also has a very pleasant singing voice that she uses in spots on the BEE9.

“Putting ‘The Great’ beside my name is a reminder. I’m setting a goal for myself to reach. If every day I put ‘The Great’ beside my name even when I don’t feel great, that’s something to aim toward.”

If you haven’t yet, it’s time you check out Sampa The Great. She’s a unique talent whose music continues to evolve and impress. Listen to her project 'Birds and The BEE9' on Spotify below:


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Alternative RnB Hip Hop