ARIA-Award winning, Zambian-born, Botswana-raised poet and rapper, Sampa The Great has releasesd her long-awaited sophomore full-length album, As Above, So Below, out now via Loma Vista Recordings.
As a career-eclipsing record, anchored by Sampa The Great’s spoken word in the Zambian-rooted language of Bemba, As Above, So Below, traverses Sampa’s memories of Africa through a self-exposed lens of authenticity and womanhood, while looking to the future of Africa’s relationship to the world and its global communities. Sampa The Great invites an international roster of collaborators, including Angélique Kidjo, Denzel Curry, Joey Bada$$, Kojey Radical, WITCH, Chef 187, Tio Nason, Sampa’s own sister Mwanjé and moreto contribute across 11 tracks spanning hip-hop, neo-soul, Zamrock, Amapiano and Southern African rap.
A reflection of Sampa’s transitory upbringing, the record’s sonic hybridity throws recognition to the music coming out of the African diaspora today, while honouring the stories of those who tread previously. Consider As Above, So Below as Sampa’s musical encyclopedia, each track grounding new modes of expression against various musical influences uncovered throughout her lifetime.
After relocating home to Zambia during the pandemic, Sampa reconnected with a different side of herself – one closer to the younger artistry that was nourished growing up in Africa. From collaborations with Southern Africa creatives Rochelle Nembhard and Imraan Christian, to time spent recording with a long-established network of close friends and family, Sampa debuts a 360 Sampa to the world.
As Above, So Below unveils the many sides of Sampa; an album that fuses the serious to the sensual. As Above translates as Sampa’s outside self, while So Below is the Sampa within, together uniting to reveal the highest version of herself, without a mask, or role to play. Anchoring the record, is Eve: Sampa’s blueprint of her ideal self who manifests within As Above, So Below’s lyrics, and visually appears throughout the album’s videos.
“As Above, So Below is more personal than communal. The literal meaning is what is within me, is what is expressed outside of me. After years of feeling like I had to represent and be an ambassador for everyone, I finally feel like I get to be an ambassador and fully represent myself.
Relocating to Zambia and Botswana is significant to my story, because this is where my artist dreams began. I was able to reconnect to my younger self and remind me why I started making music in the first place, beyond outside pressure or influencer. The album has become a full circle moment for me; I was able to create this project in the country of my birth and have it be the first project created in Zambia with a Zambian Executive Producer, African visual team and majority African producers and artists.
This is my freest project to date. It feels like the journey of ‘my return’ has been completed, and a new chapter begins.”
While remaining one of the world’s most daring artists to continually challenge and connect visions of self, African womanhood and the African diaspora to a greater conversation in an eagerly listening global community, at its simplest, As Above, So Below is an engrossing, cathartic and joyous record to cherish today, and for years to come.
Release: September 9th, 2022, Loma Vista Recordings