Friday Feature: Sampa the Great

Photo credit: Yours and Owls

It’s understandable, if regrettable, that Sampa the Great only had room for one adjective in her moniker. One could assign others: Sampa the Eclectic, the Unapologetic, the Imaginative. Her selection certainly makes sense, though. If there is one thing she has striven for since childhood, it is to be a great artist.

The Zambia-born, Australia-based rapper and poet searches for “creativity, laughter, purpose, & rhythms” on her latest release, The Great Mixtape. Produced by Godriguez, the album is a meandering, joyful trip through Sampa’s mental space by way of bluesy, clanging beats and her unique vocals (sometimes spitfire, sometimes crooning, sometimes stuttering, but always very Sampa).

She explores this drive in “April,” a short and sharp declaration that now that the world’s her stage, her standards are higher than ever. A sound like knives sharpening builds the base of beat that’s quickly filled out with sing-songy samples and melodic percussion, over which Sampa raps about loving to rhyme, reminiscent of these being her dreams as a young child introduced to 2Pac and the potential of hip-hop. She isn’t content with slowing down now.

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