This is not a record that you can just sit through and not absorb in some way. You are either learning a lot about Sampa or a lot about yourself. It is an experience.
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Sampa The Great, (also known as Sampa Tembo) the Zambian representative, the whole package that is; a poet, rapper, singer, and songwriter who acknowledges the beauty in “black girl magik” and exquisite simplicity. Born into a family that was “musically inclined”, but have never taken their talents to a professional level, Tembo realized that it was crucial for her to inspire her loved ones to follow their passion. After jetting off to Australia at the tender age of twenty two to follow her accepted mission to become an artist, she made sure her work from then on had a “purpose and a meaning.” Powerful beliefs to straight forward lyricism in the most sophisticated way possible, Sampa is an expert in her techniques to make any listener mesmerized by her stylistic delivery.
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“Birds and the Bee9” Sampa’s second LP demonstrates a high range of growth as compared to her first LP just released two years prior by the name of “The Great Mixtape.” Listening to both records side by side, individuality and fluidity is more emphasized in the new piece as it was in the first record. Of course, the poetic stylistics will always be a part Sampa’s work. “The Great Mixtape” very much incorporated spoken word vibes, however the assertiveness, the purposeful messages, and the homages to her African roots are more obvious and suitable in “Birds and the Bee9.“
The first track “Healing” is met with delicate ad-libs on top of a delicate instrumental for a whole three minutes and nine seconds. However, those three magical minutes are encountered with what seems to be refreshing exhales and precise hand clapping that create a masterpiece. This chilling first track is somewhat a “pregame” to get you in the mood for whats coming up next.
“Flowers” the following track wakes you up completely with awakening jazzy drums. After a minute, Sampa’s verse comes in and the artist has arrived. The impeccable poet states in the second verse:
“Stuck up in the clouds and I smile in amazement. Intricately intrigued by magnificent arrangements…“
The song contains the catchiest chorus with just two words “free” and “flowers”, but the complex verses, as well as Remi’s (rapper; the song’s feature) also makes up for the modest chorus. This is definitely a track to listen to while taking your dog for a walk in the gentrified sections of Brooklyn during sunset.
The third track, “Protect Your Queen” gives throwback influences, but of course stating nothing but facts lyrically. As you get the chance to read the lyrics you’re left open mouthed in shock, since the truth is all in the music. The beautiful vocalizing and soft chanting makes the song to be very self reflecting. One can listen to this song and take notes as it does teach much lessons as to how to treat women, black women that is of course. The honesty in this Sampa track leaves one in simple shock and awe.
Songs worth praising, as they are all about praising oneself and empowering oneself are “I Am Me“, “Black Girl Magik“, and “Protect Your Queen” while many of the tracks fall along the “autobiographical” lane. As one really takes the time to absorb all the words and stories being told in these songs, one will react. This is not a record that you can just sit through and not absorb in some way. You are either learning a lot about Sampa or a lot about yourself. It is an experience. It is a black girl pride record.
The full track listing for the album is as follows…
2. Flowers feat. REMI
3. Protect Your Queen
4. Rhymes To The East
5. Can I Get a Key
6. Black Girl Magik
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
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