Sampa the Great has released her mixtape Birds And The BEE9, today via Big Dada. The tape is now available to stream. Expanding the scope of her collaborators for this release also meant honing her idea of what she wants to create. Ive only been doing this for two years professionally, she says. “It was important for me as things continued to grow to take a little time to step back from everything and say, This is what I want to do with my music. Music is the way I express myself, the way I reflect on life, reflect on the things that Ive experienced.”
This new mixtape showcases the qualities which were already evident in those first releases. Boasting an unhurried, assured delivery, its the perfect foil for a self-aware, spiritually minded perspective. In ‘Can I Get A Key’, for instance, she shines as both a singer and MC while bemoaning the gatekeepers who maintain the rarefied, exclusive nature of the art world. Set against a backdrop of rumbling sub-bass, she sings a defiant chorus in harmony with an earworm-like, softly-played sax refrain before diving into ridiculous, tongue-twisting lyricism set down with her customary offhand delivery.
‘Black Girl Magik’ sees her reflect on the contribution and strength of black women, often unappreciated and overlooked, the track serves as a celebration of black womanhood. Against a loosely-built, pared-back beat, pairing steady drums with gently-played melodies, she flips from references to Yoruba to making puns on the language of spiritual consciousness: Yemaya told me in a dream I was conscious / No I was not woke I was live in a concert.
Taking in influences from disparate different corners, its an attitude that reflects her worldly perspective. Having lived in both Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, shes also spent time studying in both San Francisco and LA. As such, its no surprise to hear the mixture of sounds that filter through the record. Be it the undercurrents of gospel and neo-soul which accompany reflections on her identity in ‘Bye River’, or the spiritually-minded chants and claps of Healing’.
Sampa the Great
Birds And The BEE9 mixtape
2. Flowers feat. REMI
3. Protect Your Queen
4. Rhymes To The East
5. Can I Get a Key
6. Black Girl Magik feat. Nicole Gumbe
7. Casper feat. Syreneyiscreamy
8. Karma The Villain
9. Bye River
10. Inner Voice feat. Mwanje Tembo
11. The Truth
12. I Am Me
13. Healer feat. Zaachariaha