Sampa the Great

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Sampa the Great
Sampa the Great, Fairgrounds 2018.jpg
Sampa the Great performing at Fairgrounds Festival in Berry, New South Wales, 2018.
Background information
Birth nameSampa Tembo
Born1993 (age 25–26)[1]
Zambia, Africa
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresHip hop, pop
Occupation(s)
Years active2014 (2014)–present
LabelsNinja Tune
Associated acts
Websitewww.sampathegreat.com

Sampa Tembo (born 1993), known professionally as Sampa the Great, is a Zambian-born Australian singer-songwriter, and rapper.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Sampa Tembo was born in 1993 in Zambia and raised in Botswana. She was based in Sydney from 2014 to 2018,[4] originally coming to Australia to pursue a degree in audio production at the SAE Institute.[5] As of 2018, she is based in Melbourne.[6] Before going to Australia, she had previously studied in San Francisco for two years and Los Angeles for a year.[5][7][8]

Music career[edit]

2015–2016: Early years[edit]

On 24 September 2015, Sampa the Great was featured on the single "Beauty" by future soul singer-songwriter Wallace.[9] Her debut mixtape, The Great Mixtape, was released as a free download on 16 October, and was eventually released on CD and vinyl by Melbourne label Wondercore Island.[5] Tembo described the mixtape as "a search for creativity, laughter, purpose and rhythms",[2] and credits her African youth for inspiring the "political consciousness" on the record.[10] The mixtape was produced by Sydney producer Dave Rodriguez, who performs under the name Godriguez. Tembo and Rodriguez met at a jazz and hip-hop freestyle in Sydney. Tembo's vocals for the mixtape were recorded in just two takes.[11] On 18 December, the mixtape track "F E M A L E" was released as a single.[12]

On 19 January 2016, Sampa released a standalone single "Black Dignity".[13] Two days later, another standalone single "Blue Boss" was released.[14] On 4 March, Sampa featured on Urthboy's album The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat on the track "Second Heartbeat" alongside OKENYO. Another two standalones followed, "24" and "Blessings" released together on 25 May.[15][16] On 6 October, Sampa released a music video entitled "HERoes (The Call)".[17] On 27 October, a followup music video for "HERoes (The Response)" was released.[18]

2017–2018: HERoes Act 2 and Birds and the BEE9[edit]

On 28 April 2017, Sampa the Great released the single "Everybody's Hero" featuring British singer Estelle.[19] Tembo's debut EP, HERoes Act 2 was the released on 10 May.[5] In an interview, she called it "a snapshot of a time of uncertainty and doubt, and the realisation that those aspects are very normal". On the EP, Tembo collaborated with producer Rahki.[7] The second and third singles from the EP, "The Plug" and "Paved with Gold" again featuring Estelle, were released on 11 May.[20][21] On 10 November, Tembo released the mixtape Birds and the BEE9, a record that "crosses hip-hop, soul, jazz, gospel and reggae",[6] on the Big Dada label.[22] It was produced by Sensible J, Silentjay[23] and Kwesi Darko. The track "Casper" contained guest vocals from Syreneyiscreamy, the track "Inner Voice" contained guest vocals from Mwnaje Tembo, and the track "Healer" contained guest vocals from Zaachariaha. The record won the Australian Music Prize in March 2018.[24][25] Birds and the BEE9 received positive reviews. The Guardian noted influences from Lauryn Hill.[26] On 3 October, the single "Rhymes to the East" was released.[27] On 17 October, the single "Bye River" was released.[28] On 20 October, she featured on the track "Your Orbit" by Ecca Vandal, on her eponymous debut album Ecca Vandal.

On 5 April 2018, a music video was released for the track "Black Girl Magik" featuring Nicole Gumbe.[1] On 23 April, Sampa was featured in the music video for "Your Orbit" by Ecca Vandal.[29]

2018–present: The Return[edit]

On 29 November, Sampa released her single "Energy" featuring Nadeem Din-Gabisi alongside an accompanying music video.[30] Tembo was due to release her debut studio album later that year, however it was delayed.[26] On 5 June 2019, she released another single "Final Form" alongside an accompanying music video.[31] Her debut album The Return will be released on 13 September.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Outside of her music career, Tembo is interested in sprinting.[7]

Musical style[edit]

Sampa the Great is Australia's most prolific black female hip-hop artist export, where she often speaks about the visibility of black and indigenous artists in Australia.[editorializing]

Tembo has been influenced by Mos Def and Chance the Rapper.[8] She has performed as a supporting act for Joey Bada$$, as well as Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat,[22] and Denzel Curry.[33] Tembo described Joey as a "passionate artist and an amazing performer".[6]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums
Title Album details
The Return

Mixtapes[edit]

List of extended plays
Title Mixtape details
The Great Mixtape
  • Released: 16 October 2015
  • Label: Self-released, Wondercore Island (re-issue)
  • Format: LP vinyl, digital download
Birds And The BEE9
  • Released: 10 November 2017
  • Label: Big Dada
  • Format: LP vinyl, digital download

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays
Title EP details
HERoes Act 2
  • Released: 10 May 2017
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Album
"F E M A L E" 2015 The Great Mixtape
"Black Dignity" 2016 Non-album singles
"Blue Boss"
"24"
"Blessings"
"Everybody's Hero" (featuring Estelle) 2017 HERoes Act 2
"The Plug" (featuring Estelle)
"Paved with Gold" (featuring Estelle)
"Rhymes to the East" Birds And The BEE9
"Bye River"
"Energy" (featuring Nadeem Din-Gabisi) 2018 The Return
"Final Form" 2019

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Album
"Beauty" (Wallace featuring Sampa the Great) 2015 Non-album singles
"For Good" (Remi featuring Sampa the Great) 2016
"Fire Sign" (Sensible J featuring Remi and Sampa the Great) 2017

Other appearances[edit]

List of non-single appearances
Title Year Artist(s) Album
"Second Heartbeat" 2016 Urthboy featuring Sampa the Great and Okenyo The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat
"For Good // F.U.B.U." Remi featuring Sampa the Great Divas and Demons
"Your Orbit" 2017 Ecca Vandal featuring Sampa the Great Ecca Vandal
"Island Rose" Jonti featuring Sampa the Great Tokorats
"Let That Go" 2018 Blinky Bill featuring Sampa the Great Everyone's Just Winging it and Other Fly Tales
"Genesis" Raiza Biza and Remi featuring Sampa the Great Black Hole Sun - EP

Album appearances[edit]

List of album appearances
Title Year Album
"Wonderland" 2016 Plastic World Volume 1
"For Good" (with Remi) 2017 Nova: Haute Musique II

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"HERoes (The Call)" 2016 Priit Siimon
"HERoes (The Response)" Claudia Sutiono
Priit Siimon
"Black Girl Magik" (featuring Nicole Gumbe) 2018 Sanjay De Silva
"Energy" (featuring Nadeem Din-Gabisi) Modu Sesay
"Final Form" 2019 Sanjay De Silva
"OMG"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sampa The Great (5 April 2018). "Sampa The Great feat. Nicole Gumbe - Black Girl Magik (Official Video)". Retrieved 11 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ a b "sampa the great". Niche Productions. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Sampa the Great". Sampa the Great. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Sampa the Great". Facebook. Retrieved 18 March 2018.[non-primary source needed]
  5. ^ a b c d Drever, Andrew (17 May 2017). "Sampa the Great is becoming the artist she dreamed of being". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Wehner, Cyclone (7 February 2018). "'The Rise of Sampa': Sampa The Great on Storytelling, Songwriting & Growth". Music Feeds. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Smallwood, April (31 May 2017). "9 Questions with Sampa the Great". Collective Hub. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b "SAMPA THE GREAT: Spoken Proudly and Unapologetically". The Pin. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Beauty (Ft. Sampa The Great) by Wallace". BandCamp. 24 September 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Zambian Rapper, Poet & Singer Sampa The Great's Debut Mixtape". OkayAfrica. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Meet Godriguez, the Producer That Helps Make Sampa So Great". Noisey. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  12. ^ "F E M A L E - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Black Dignity - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Blue Boss - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  15. ^ "24 - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Blessings - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  17. ^ Sampa The Great (6 October 2016). "Sampa The Great - HERoes (The Call)". Retrieved 11 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ Sampa The Great (27 October 2016). "Sampa The Great - HERoes (The Response)". Retrieved 11 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Everybody's Hero feat. Estelle - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  20. ^ "The Plug feat. Estelle - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Paved with Gold feat. Estelle - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  22. ^ a b Jennings, Helen (21 November 2017). "SaMpA The GReaT". Nataal. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  23. ^ Valentish, Jenny (5 April 2018). "After the Australian Music Prize, Sampa the Great wants to set her story straight". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  24. ^ Donoughue, Paul (9 March 2018). "African-Australian rapper Sampa The Great wins Australian Music Prize". ABC News. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Sampa The Great Scores $30,000 Aus Music Prize". The Music. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  26. ^ a b Empire, Kitty (12 November 2017). "Sampa the Great: Birds and the BEE9 review – an intriguing appetiser". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Rhymes to the East - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Bye River - Single by Sampa the Great". Apple Music. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  29. ^ ECCA VANDAL (23 April 2018). "Ecca Vandal - Your Orbit ft. Sampa The Great". Retrieved 11 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ Sampa The Great (29 November 2018). "Sampa The Great – Energy (feat. Nadeem Din-Gabisi)". Retrieved 13 January 2019 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ Sampa The Great (6 June 2019). "Sampa The Great - Final Form (Official Video)". Retrieved 11 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ a b Minsker, Evan (10 July 2019). "Sampa the Great Announces Debut Album, Shares New Song "OMG": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  33. ^ Denzel Curry - 'BLACK BALLOONS | 13LACK 13ALLOONZ', Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 15 February 2019, retrieved 17 February 2019