Sydney-based Sampa the Great’s Birds and the BEE9 is an intriguing mixtape of Zambian-influenced rap and pop, drawing influences such as Lauryn Hill and Nina Simone.
Birds and the BEE9 expresses what it is to go from ‘a healing to a healer’ in Sampa’s eyes. Opening with ‘Healing’ and closing with ‘Healer’ it seems like the album comes full-circle. The laid-back, traditional tones of the first track are blended with a modern bassline that slowly appetizes the listener. She depicts flowers, birds but also the wounds and physical pains. A lot of her tracks are beautiful, yet she uses them as a way to depict harsh realities.
On ‘Protect Your Queen’, she encapsulates the essence of the album, affirming herself as a talented rapper but also drifting into spoken word poetry. On ‘Black Girl Magik’, she sounds sentimental and vulnerable at times yet delves into the political with lyrics like, “No I’m not your voice, I just wanna be equal”. She shows real talent by being able to touch on these thought-provoking, socially-conscious themes and mix them into her music with ease in such a soulful way.
Sampa The Great’s captivating fusion of soul, jazz and hip-hop is what makes this album so inspiring and original, and marks her as one of the most exciting talents emerging at the moment.