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Sampa The Great creates a sense of home on her debut album – The Return. A characterful record, its reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds. Built on four years of personal and musical soul-searching, it’s an assured statement, the product of meaningful musical connections and of Sampa having to redefine her self-identity away from the comforts of family and old friends.
The Return is a reference to a physical journey, as well as a spiritual one; Sampa returned to Zambia and Botswana, where she recorded the videos for both Final Form – the triumphant single which sees her embrace the struggle of growing as an artist and OMG. Across every aspect of The Return, from the music and the lyrics to the visuals and the artwork, Sampa The Great returns to the foundations propping up her sense of self and in doing so makes a bold statement about who she is as an artist.
Continually reaching outwards, Sampa The Great has recruited a string of esteemed collaborators and peers such as Blue Lab Beats, Clever Austin (Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote), Ecca Vandal, Jonwayne, Kwes Darko (slowthai), MsM (Boy Better Know/Skepta), Silentjay and Syreniscreamy and London jazz collective Steam Down to create the album.
The album artwork features Sampa alongside a Nyau dancer – traditional dancers and figures that are found in villages across parts of Africa. For Sampa, the dancer represents the fear of the unknown which is often projected by the West when it comes to African traditions. She also wanted to rediscover her ancestors’ spirituality: her mother’s side of the family are of the Bantu ethnicity from which the Nyau tradition originates.
Fusing afrobeat, gospel, hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul and spoken, The Return promises the unexpected at every corner.
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