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Sampa the Great

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Biography

Sampa the Great is a poet, songwriter, and visual artist whose introspective, socially conscious music strives to uplift, empower, and inspire positive change. Her delivery flows between aggressive, confident rapping, smooth soul-jazz singing, and poetic reflections, and her music is a similarly eclectic brew of abstract hip-hop beats, African influences, spiritual neo-soul, and other styles. Born Sampa Tembo in Zambia, she was raised in Botswana and fell in love with hip-hop after hearing 2Pac's "Changes" as a child. She soon began rapping, and after moving to Australia as a young adult, she established herself within Sydney's hip-hop scene. The Great Mixtape (produced by Godriguez) was released by Wondercore Island in 2015 and quickly built up a major buzz. The 2016 singles "Blue Boss" and "Black Dignity" received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Australia's Triple J, and Sampa guested on songs by Urthboy and Remi. As her fan base grew, she shared stages with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ibeyi, and Little Simz, and appeared at festivals like WOMAD and Sugar Mountain. In 2017, Sampa collaborated with British R&B icon Estelle on a three-song EP titled HERoes Act 2. Later in the year, Sampa signed to Big Dada and released the single "Rhymes to the East," which preceded her debut full-length, Birds and the BEE9. She also guested on Tokorats, the second full-length from psych-pop songwriter Jonti. ~ Paul Simpson
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