Sampa The Great - 'The Return'

8/10

There is obviously a large irony in Sampa The Great calling her debut album 'The Return'. Having been a major player in the international rap scene for years now, the frontwoman is no stranger to creating diverse and engaging hip-hop, albeit in smaller and more condensed forms until now. But while the name of her initial release may seem a little strange, this certainly does feel like a momentous return for the rapper, as she looks to channel the fresh and multicultural sound she has carved throughout her career and fold it all together into one expansive and adventurous debut effort.

Although now based in Australia, Sampa The Great stays very much in touch with her Zambian roots, regularly taking cues from her musically cultural background to create a record that is flooded with the sound of African but spliced with a Western aesthetic. Taking inspiration from Jay-Z and Kanye West productions of chopping up classic soul records to bring a familiar yet fresh angle to her sound, this new release sees her deliver a bold and exciting slice of exploration on every track. Mixing the softer and more humbled side of her personality with anthemic, big beat club smashers gives this album a vibe that is hard to compare in today's ever-evolving hip-hop scene.

This may have been a long time coming, but 'The Return' shows that taking your time is easily the most rewarding path to conceiving a enticing debut record. Sampa The Great has always enjoyed a cult following until now, but this new release will see her step firmly into the mainstream, establishing her as one of the true voices of modern rap.

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