Sampa The Great / Obongjayar
Ultra-modern hybrid mixtures from London singer Obongjayar, who fuses soul with the Afrobeat of his native Nigeria, alongside Zambian rapper Sampa the Great, a new star breaking down boundaries between hip-hop, R’n’B and Zamrock.
Before you can truly appreciate the silky and subtle soul of London-based Obongjayar’s first album, Some Nights I Dream of Doors, you are first struck by his soft, sensual and slightly masked voice. This voice diffuses through all twelve tracks of this album blending the best of R’n’B, electro and Afrobeat, a direct heritage from Nigeria where Steven Umoh – by his real name – was born and spent the first seventeen years of his life before moving to London. The UK capital is the epicentre of a young, effervescent hip-hop and jazz scene, making it the perfect playground for our artist: his music is fertile with the meetings and friendships made and formed across his EPs and collaborations (particularly with his good friend Little Simz) which ultimately led to this first album, acclaimed by critics as being a sensational success and the starting point of an adventure expected to be enthralling.
2/ Sampa the Great
Sampa Tembo was born in Zambia and raised in Botswana before travelling the world to study music and train as a sound engineer. First stop, California, followed by Australia, where the young woman laid the foundations of her spectacular discography. Her first two mixtapes immediately identified her as an upcoming talent, as she blended hip-hop, soul, jazz, gospel and reggae with remarkable ease. The Return, her first proper album released in 2019, is ear-catching due to the rapper’s broad production and powerful flow. Influences from Southern Africa abound, and Sampa the Great incorporated this idea yet further in As Above, So Below in 2022, an astounding melting pot of styles and languages, polyrhythms and vocal harmonies, special guests (Joey Badass and Angélique Kidjo) and nods to Zamrock, the fusion of traditional Zambian music and psychedelic rock born in the 1970s. The end result is strikingly modern.