Sampa The Great unleashes new single ‘Freedom’ ahead of the release of upcoming album ‘The Return’.
Born in Zambia and raised in Botswana, the Sydney-based artist Sampa The Great hones in on the marriage of conscious hip-hop with ancient South African sounds. Her mix tape ‘Birds and The Bees’ received a prestigious Australian music award – Best Album of 2017. She has toured globally, supporting the likes of renowned artists Kendrick Lamar, Lauren Hill, Thundercat, Joey Bada$$, Haitus Kyote and Little Simz.
The latest release since her second album is a three-track single entitled ‘Freedom’. The A-side (‘Freedom’) begins like an interlude, with a thick layer of warm and fuzzy Gospel-inspired soul vocals, over a warm bath of sustained strings, catchy guitar runs and an emotive bass line. The beat kicks in with Sampa’s vocals, producing a birds-eye chilli kind of heat and intensity.
Her vocals are rhythmic and vast in tonality, utilising a range of pitch and shapes, like an instrument would. She raps and sings in her own accent and flare, originating from her upbringing in the Southern region of Africa. The groove generated from the bass and drums is effective and simple, laying a solid foundation for the other musical elements to be more exploratory and fluid. The repeated hook “Freedom” is powerfully sung in harmony by a multitude of voices, leaving a spiritual residue that is made up of beauty as much as it is pain. The song has a similar optimism to ‘Golden’, the 2004 hit by R&B queen Jill Scott, whereby a hook with a similar sentiment is sung: “Living my life like it’s golden”.
Sampa openly promotes the diversity of women in popular music, and stands for something very spirituous, having gone against her parent’s wishes for her to live a simple life. She is unapologetically herself, and is teaching other’s to be the same. In her own words, it’s about “Loving where you’re from and even being shocked at the realization of not knowing how dope it is to be who you are.”
By Ellie Rose Davies