Sampa The Great
Sampa The Great released her acclaimed “Birds and the BEE9” mixtape in 2017. Working with a close circle of producers – including Kwes Darko (Slowthai / R&S / Black Acre), Silentjay (Rhythm Section) and Sensible J (Remi) – the release found inspiration in spiritually-minded gospel and chants to neo-soul and hip-hop, intertwined with Sampa’s clearly-defined, no-holds-barred political outlook. Described by The Observer as a record in which “categories dissolve around her”, support for Sampa The Great has come from the likes of NPR, Clash, Okayplayer, Okayafrica, Bandcamp, XLR8R, Huck, Mixmag, Rolling Stone AUS, Complex, Noisey, Vibe, Gal Dem and more. “BEE9” was also the winner of the prestigious Australian Music Prize Best Album Of 2017 (previous winners and nominees include Jordan Rakei and Courtney Barnett). With radio support from Zane Lowe and Julie Adenuga (Beats 1); Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart (BBC Radio 1); Gilles Peterson, Huey Morgan and Don Letts (BBC 6 Music); Jamz Supernova and Mistajam (BBC 1Xtra); NTS, KCRW and more.
Her new single ‘Final Form’ was released on 5th June 2019 alongside an official video. Named Zane Lowe’s World Record, it is Sampa’s first new music for 2019 and sees her fiercely delivered lyrics entangled with a warm, tightly wound beat. Produced by longtime collaborator Silentjay – and mixed by Jonwayne of Stones Throw Records notoriety – it draws inspiration from the energy of their shared inspirations in classic hip-hop.
Born in Zambia, raised in Botswana, and now based in Melbourne, her upbringing continues to bear an influence on her music. Moving to Australia six years ago, the connections she made there have propelled her to where she now stands. Living in Sydney when she first arrived, it was the shock of losing a close friend which prompted her to take the leap to try to become an artist. Going to the city’s weekly Jazz Hip-Hop Freestyle sessions for the first time, she went onstage to join the band and continued to go there each week, building up a network of like minded music heads. It was there that she connected with producer Dave Rodriguez (Godriguez), who she worked with on 2015’s “The Great Mixtape” and again for the ‘Blue Boss’ single. In 2016 Sampa released “Heroes Act 2” a collaboration with Estelle and Rahki as part of a project with Red Bull Sound Select. Following the success of “BEE9”, Sampa capped off 2018 with new single ‘Energy’ – premiered via Zane Lowe’s show on Apple Music’s Beats 1 and clocking up over 1M views on Youtube. She also recently collaborated with Denzel Curry on his Triple J ‘Like A Version’ session.
Having previously performed worldwide supporting the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Thundercat, Joey Bada$$, Hiatus Kaiyote, Noname, Ibeyi and Little Simz, Sampa toured “The BEE9 Experience” live throughout 2018 playing at Meredith Music Festival (alongside The Breeders and Yaeji) as well as KOKO, Somerset House (London) and Sydney Opera House.
In 2019, following her recent homecoming show in Zambia, Sampa The Great is set to play live at both Glastonbury and Love Supreme Jazz Festival in the UK, before performing alongside Burna Boy in New York’s Prospect Park on 19th July, with additional shows at Dark MOFO (Tasmania – alongside FKA Twigs, Kelsey Lu, Nicholas Jaar), Down The Rabbit Hole (Netherlands) and headlining Hip- Hop Collection (Paris) with more TBA.
Video & Press
Sampa The Great Just Nailed a Performance on Later… With Jools Holland
[The Music] Sampa The Great has no doubt just scored a stack of new fans overseas, with the Sydney-based rapper putting on one hell of a performance on Later… With Jools Holland. The singer-songwriter appeared on one the UK’s biggest music shows to perform OMG, taken from her recent LP, The Return, which dropped last month. Last week, Sampa […]
SAMPA THE GREAT: The rapper is returning to her roots with a long-awaited debut album
[Wonderland] Images: Barun Chatterjee In the visuals for “Final Form”, Sampa the Great is coming home. Born in Zambia and raised in Botswana before studying in the U.S. and Australia, the rapper, singer and songwriter (real name Sampa Tembo) now lives in Melbourne. But for her debut album, Sampa returned to Africa in order to […]
Sampa The Great Finds Her Place
[NPR] By DHRUVA BALRAM Sampa The Great’s debut studio album, The Return, will be released Sep. 13.Barun Chatterjee/Courtesy of the artist On Friday Sampa Tembo, the rapper-singer-songwriter better known as Sampa The Great, will release her debut studio album, The Return — one of the year’s most arresting statements of purpose. Tembo’s previous two releases, The Great Mixtape and the […]