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Sampa the Great - The Return

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The Return

Sampa the Great

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Arriving two years after Birds and the BEE9, a mixtape strong enough to win the Australian Music Prize, The Return is the long-awaited debut album by rapper, songwriter, and poet Sampa the Great. The vast, ambitious full-length reflects several years of constant, intense soul-searching, and its songs and interludes revolve around themes of identity, homecoming, and self-empowerment. Sampa was born in Zambia and raised in Botswana before settling in Australia, and her African heritage shapes the sound of the album, which is filled with lush, polyrhythmic instrumental arrangements and spirited vocal chants. Opening song "Mwana" (meaning "child" in the Zambian language Bemba) features guest vocals by Sampa's mother and sister, and the lyrics express the pain of self-discovery. She also contemplates her place in the music industry on tracks like "Freedom" and "Grass Is Greener," ruminating on how to maintain artistic freedom and what to compromise in order to be successful, as well as how to keep up the appearance of being fine when there are a multitude of problems brewing inside. "Any Day" is specifically about representation within the industry, calling for more black journalists and booking agencies. Through it all, Sampa remains optimistic and indefatigable, and her triumphant spirit is best exemplified by the infectious "OMG," a giddy celebration of her culture which she describes as sounding like the music she grew up hearing. Her skills on the microphone have significantly improved, and she raps much harder than on her earlier material. Though her music incorporates a wide variety of jazz, soul, and African influences, her dedication to hip-hop is never more apparent than on the victorious "Final Form," a black power anthem with a strong, 9th Wonder-inspired beat. The final stretch of the album is much mellower, from the heartfelt reflection of "Summer" (featuring London jazz crew Steam Down), through the meditative "Give Love" and "Don't Give Up," and ending with the peaceful resolution "Made Us Better." While the album's 78-minute running time might seem overwhelming at first, one assumes that Sampa felt that she couldn't have edited it down, as every statement carries deep personal significance. Full of insight and inspiration, The Return is an impressive, powerful work. ~ Paul Simpson

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The Return

Sampa the Great

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1
Mwana 00:04:27

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Perrin Moss, Producer, Writer - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Mwanje Tembo, Lyricist, Featuring - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Engineer - Evan Lorden, Engineer - Mwanje, FeaturedArtist - Theresa Mutale Tembo, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sunburnt Soul Choir, Featuring, FeaturedArtist

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

2
Freedom 00:04:06

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer - Evan Lorden, Engineer - Alex Bennet, Engineer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

3
Wake Up (Interlude) 00:00:54

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

4
Time’s Up 00:02:33

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Krown, Writer, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

5
Grass Is Greener 00:03:32

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

6
Dare To Fly 00:04:23

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Perrin Moss, Writer - Ecca Vandal, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

7
Any Day 00:04:17

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Whosane, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

8
OMG 00:02:34

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Kwes Darko, Producer, Engineer, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

9
Light It Up (Interlude) 00:02:15

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

10
Final Form 00:03:36

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Notting Hill Music (UK), MusicPublisher - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer - Leon F Sylvers III, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

11
Heaven 00:02:55

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Whosane, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

12
Diamond In The Ruff 00:04:54

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Krown, Lyricist, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Thando, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

13
Leading Us Home 00:04:05

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer - Evan Lorden, Engineer - Alex Lorden, Engineer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

14
Summer 00:04:24

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Perrin Moss, Producer - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Writer - Steam Down, Featuring, FeaturedArtist

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

15
Brand New 00:03:48

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Silentjay, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Writer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

16
Give Love (Interlude) 00:02:21

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist, Writer - Syreneyiscreamy, Producer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

17
The Return 00:09:17

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Alien, Lyricist, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Whosane, Lyricist, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Thando, Lyricist, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Paul Bender, Engineer - Simon Mavin, Engineer - Jace XL, Lyricist, Featuring, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Engineer - Evan Lorden, Engineer

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

18
Don’t Give Up 00:07:04

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Perrin Moss, Writer - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Lyricist, Writer - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer - Mandarin Dreams, Featuring, FeaturedArtist

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

19
Made Us Better 00:06:20

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Lori, FeaturedArtist - Sampa the Great, MainArtist - Sampa Tembo, Writer - Blue Lab Beats, Producer, FeaturedArtist - Alejandro 'Silentjay' Abapo, Producer, Engineer, Writer - Boadi, FeaturedArtist

2019 Ninja Tune 2019 Ninja Tune

Album Description

Arriving two years after Birds and the BEE9, a mixtape strong enough to win the Australian Music Prize, The Return is the long-awaited debut album by rapper, songwriter, and poet Sampa the Great. The vast, ambitious full-length reflects several years of constant, intense soul-searching, and its songs and interludes revolve around themes of identity, homecoming, and self-empowerment. Sampa was born in Zambia and raised in Botswana before settling in Australia, and her African heritage shapes the sound of the album, which is filled with lush, polyrhythmic instrumental arrangements and spirited vocal chants. Opening song "Mwana" (meaning "child" in the Zambian language Bemba) features guest vocals by Sampa's mother and sister, and the lyrics express the pain of self-discovery. She also contemplates her place in the music industry on tracks like "Freedom" and "Grass Is Greener," ruminating on how to maintain artistic freedom and what to compromise in order to be successful, as well as how to keep up the appearance of being fine when there are a multitude of problems brewing inside. "Any Day" is specifically about representation within the industry, calling for more black journalists and booking agencies. Through it all, Sampa remains optimistic and indefatigable, and her triumphant spirit is best exemplified by the infectious "OMG," a giddy celebration of her culture which she describes as sounding like the music she grew up hearing. Her skills on the microphone have significantly improved, and she raps much harder than on her earlier material. Though her music incorporates a wide variety of jazz, soul, and African influences, her dedication to hip-hop is never more apparent than on the victorious "Final Form," a black power anthem with a strong, 9th Wonder-inspired beat. The final stretch of the album is much mellower, from the heartfelt reflection of "Summer" (featuring London jazz crew Steam Down), through the meditative "Give Love" and "Don't Give Up," and ending with the peaceful resolution "Made Us Better." While the album's 78-minute running time might seem overwhelming at first, one assumes that Sampa felt that she couldn't have edited it down, as every statement carries deep personal significance. Full of insight and inspiration, The Return is an impressive, powerful work. ~ Paul Simpson

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By Sampa the Great
Final Form Sampa the Great
Birds And The BEE9 Sampa the Great
The Great Mixtape Sampa the Great
Heaven Sampa the Great

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