Sampa The Great is pretty darn good. Straight outta Sydney by way of Zambia, she dropped her first mixtape, The Great Mixtape, back in September and since then she’s been getting all the right kinds of attention from the boys in the biz. She deserves it too, ‘cause that thing is legitimate dope.
Her latest release, Weapon Chosen, is a direct response to Hiatus Kaiyote’s request for a remix, like they heard what she was putting down and said, do you reckon you can make us better? Well, she probably could, but instead of taking what they laid out and adding a little R’n’B wah wah, or just spitting rhymes all over it, she’s created a diacritical response that completely negates the original meaning in the best possible way.
Running over six tracks and one literal second past eleven minutes, the EP, mixtape, rework or whatever, is sort of like grappling with one side of an academic conversation, like a physics professor explaining string theory with bananas. It probably shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does, and forms a measured, intelligent retort to stimuli outside of the usual fieldwork.
Sampa’s style is something like neo-tribalism infused with the kind of 3030 future beats that dub drivers have been piloting in circles for years. Yet, she’s not beholden to any of it. That’s what’s really great here. Everything that should be pastiche or passé is positively unique and seamlessly produced. Despite the samples and the origin, the sound here is absolutely her own, and that’s even better than the fact that we get to claim her as Australian, because individuality is becoming an increasingly rarefied creature in the modern age.
If you have eleven minutes in your day, you should listen to this release. If you don’t, well then you should reprioritise some shit and still listen to it. This side of autoerotica, it’s the best use of that time you’re likely to find.