Sampa The Great: Birds And The Bee9

- You could say Sampa The Great has aptly named herself, but great doesn’t really cover the velocity of her musical wrath. The Zambian born MC, poet and singer is back to deliver with her second record Birds and the Bee9, and it’s everything you could hope for.

Opening track Healing starts off softly with a percussive acapella rhythm setting the tone. Acting as an introduction to the record, it builds slowly, ominously. Can I Get A Key pairs a relaxed vibe with a fast paced rap, and an almost sultry beat. Muted trumpets pair well with the soft spoken flow of Sampa in the melodic sections and a clear, crisp bell sample is really the cherry on top. Rhymes To The East has a mysterious sound to it, with the musical samples referencing eastern instruments, creating a vibe that makes you think of snake charming (is this what she was going for? If it was she has really made the mark).

The record is rife with featured artists, with cameos from the likes of REMINicole Gumbe, Syreenyisscreamy, Mwanje Tembo and Zaachariaha. These collaborations complement Sampa’s rhymes and beats (even though she could absolutely hold her own). On Flowers (with REMI)the contrast of Sampa's softer raps and REMI’s masculine ones create a dynamic aural experience. Paired with sneaky brass lines and layered harmonies, Sampa has hit the nail on the head with the overall vibe.

Sampa The Great is a fantastic lyricist and this record is a real testament to that fact. Bye River, as well as being a prodigious musical journey, features some of the best lyrics on the record. With cuts like “Raised on seeds of mass proportion / Growing in world of mass distortion”, thrown over her signature subtle, almost purely acapella beats, it’s easy to see why Sampa has made such a name for herself so quickly in the hip hop world. Many of her tracks talk about real world problems, POC visibility, and loving youself, making her that right blend of uncomfortable and feel good.

Sampa The Great is doing great things for women and for POC and this record is full of tasty rhymes, soft beats and lyrical mastery which make the messages a very easy pill to swallow. She's already great, if Sampa stays on this track there will be even greater things to come.

- Olivia Shoesmith.

Album Details

Album Title: Birds And The Bee9
Artist: Sampa The Great
Record Label: (Big Dada / Inertia)