Sampa The Great is a Zambian Sidney-based poet, MC and singer-songwriter. Last year we introduced her with the mixtape titled Birds And The BEE9. Back in 2019, she released her first full-length. The Return is out now via Ninja Tune. Its reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds.

The album was mixed by Jonwayne (of Stones Throw notoriety), MsM (Skepta/Boy Better Know) and Andrei Eremin (GRAMMY-nominated engineer for Hiatus Kaiyote and Chet Faker); productions are by Silentjay, Slowthai producer Kwes DarkoClever Austin (Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kiayote), Blue Lab Beats and Syreniscreamy. The album also features collaborations with Ecca Vandal and London jazz collective Steam Down.

According to the press release, Built on four years of personal and musical soul-searching, it’s an assured statement, the product of meaningful musical connections and of Sampa having to redefine her self-identity away from the comforts of family and old friends.

She shared a new video for the track “Time’s Up” which features Krown. It was directed by Sanjay De Silva. “Time’s up” is a track that was made to reflect a conversation between two young African artists working in the Australian music industry.” explains Sampa. “An industry that has often been careless in protecting the wellbeing of Black Artists. The labour put on marginalised people to have to address systemic racism every day means more trauma and pressure on our mental health and emotional state.”

“I’m partnering with Pola Psychology a Naarm (Melbourne) based therapy practice to make sure African youth/musicians can access culturally appropriate mental health care in their own community, by their own community. At a time like this, it’s important to let my friends and the wider African community know that this support exists and our health matters.”

Director Sanjay de Silva continues: “We’re playing with the tongue in cheek aspect to the song and dialling it way up by incorporating metaphors like the padded room—to represent the way the industry sees black artists—to the imagery of the industry literally shaking Sampa’s culture out of her for their profit. We referenced some very specific 90’s music videos throughout, from Tupac’s ‘hit Em Up’, to videos from Busta, Da Bush Babees, Jamiroquai, and De La Soul—each one is utilized to convey a powerful message about how the music industry has treated and continues to treat and exploit black artists.”

Watch it below.