Sampa the Great makes uplifting spiritual soul on The Return – Chicago Reader

If youre looking for an album to give you courage as you peer out at the apocalypse from behind your living-room blinds, you could do worse than Sampa the Greats The Return (Ninja Tune). The Zambia-born, Australia-based artist released this sprawling, languid record last September, and its full of 90s beats, heart-on-the-dashiki rapping, and such a crowd of guest starsBrooklyn MC Whosane, Australian singer-songwriter Thando, Melbourne artists collective Mandarin Dreamsthat it feels as much like a family affair as a solo effort. Her crisp, catchy flow is down-to-earth and uncolored by Auto-Tune, whether shes dropping boasts about Afrocentric empowerment on OMG, lusciously rolling the syllables of mel-a-nin over her teeth on Final Form, or soaring toward enlightenment with Australias Sunburnt Soul Choir on Mwana. As is often the case with neosoul, Sampas music can start to feel overly earnest by the end of the album. She seems aware of this herself; the interlude Wake Up is an answering-machine message from a friend who declares, I dont think you have time for all this finding-yourself spiritual shit. But were in the middle of a life-altering time, when spiritual shit might be something we need. Its hard not to feel grateful when Sampa and London collective Steam Down end Summer by singing Im not afraid in ascending harmoniesthe power of their voices together makes you believe their message. v

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Sampa the Great makes uplifting spiritual soul on The Return - Chicago Reader

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