Sampa The Great

Wednesday May 31, 2023 08:00 PM EDT
Cost: $20.00 - $25.00
Disclaimer: All prices are current as of the posting date and are subject to change.
Please check the venue or ticket sales site for the current pricing.

From the venue:

Sampa The Great is poised to be her highest self. In just a few short years, the Zambian artist
(born Sampa Tembo) has established herself as one of global rap’s most compelling and
outspoken voices. Her new album, As Above, So Below (Sept 9, 2022 release), emancipates the
artist from expectations- and enables her to stand in her truth as a woman. “It’s a huge self-love
note to myself,” she says. “You’re allowed to show your full range as a human being. It’s a
personal journey because I wasn’t allowing myself to do that.”

The 28-year-old recorded her sophomore album over the course of two weeks while back home
in Zambia during the pandemic. As Above represents Sampa’s outside self, while So Below
translates the Sampa within, uniting to reveal the highest version of herself- honest, without a
mask or role to play. To bring the album to life, she worked with a network of friends, family and
South African creatives: Mag44 serves as the project’s executive producer and co-producers are
Sampa Tembo (her first producer credit), Sam Nyambe, Sammy Masta and Solomon Plate. For
Sampa, working with the legendary Mag44, a groundbreaker in propagating Zambian sounds
throughout the world, is a dream come true. She says of him: “You’re the spark, you’re the
innovator. Our very own African Timbaland.”

She navigates the album’s thesis that “the outer world is literally a manifestation of our inner
chaos” through Eve, which represents the artist’s ideal version of herself from the serious to the
sensual. “The woman I’ve always wanted to be is Eve,” she says. Wordplaying on the first
woman, Sampa intends to be the first woman in her family to redefine what African women can
be, and break generational stereotypes. Sampa is becoming Eve. She explains: “As a woman in
hip-hop, there’s always a one-dimensional way of expressing who we are. I wanted to make sure
that my womanhood is expressed in a way that’s comfortable to me and in my art.

The Eve blueprint is interspersed throughout the album, showcasing the feminine in the past,
present and future. “When I decided to go on the journey of Eve, I knew I was coming into the
full realisation of myself and all aspects of me. Most importantly, my femininity. I had to push
myself to be comfortable in expressing my femininity through my art, on my own terms. I then
used that energy to birth As Above, So Below.” To help Sampa realise Eve through all the
accompanying album visuals was visionary South African Creative Director, Rharha Nembhard.
In the short film “The Origin Story” (directed by Rharha Nembhard and Imraan Christian) we
are introduced to Eve as the nurturer, the mother of life. The album opener “Shadows” begins
with layers of luscious harmonies over a haunting marimba. Sampa delves into self-reflection.
“All of my demons is running. Coming to see if I’m tripping,” she raps. “You can do anything,
trying to change who you are.” She continues to investigate pressures and specifically, the
censorship placed on impactful artists on the Joey Bada$$ collaboration “Mask On.” “They want
us to hush, that’s why they got us masked up,” the New York City rapper defiantly states. The
closer “Let Me Be Great” features iconic African singer Angélique Kidjo, who Sampa fondly
remembers listening to while growing up. Over an ebullient track of horns and Kidjo’s
electrifying vocals Sampa examines her own legacy. As the title implies, the track on a symbolic
level is the proverbial sharing of the torch from one powerful African female artist to another.
She muses, “Who are you as a person? What is your purpose here?”

“Never Forget” is symbolic of As Above, So Below as a whole, a full circle moment of
realization. Sonically, the track pays homage to Zamrock, a genre that emerged in the 1970s
featuring traditional African music and psychedelic rock. “It’s a genre that almost disappeared,”
Sampa says, seeing the parallels as an artist that broke outside of their homeland. “I had never
heard of this within Zambia but everyone outside seemed to have. How was that? It hit home for
me as I felt similarities in my own journey, having had my career take off outside my birth
country.” The track features traditional Ngoma drums by band Nomakanjani, hand claps and
marimba juxtaposed against modern 808’s from Mag 44. Sampa’s sister, Mwanjé, provides the
opening choral harmony before a low-slung bassline booms out punctuating hooks from
Zambian songwriter Tio Nason and triumphant verses from Zambian star Chef 187 and Sampa
herself. “I thought it was fitting to pay homage to those who came before me and merge past,
present and future through music and imagery; passing the baton from one generation to the

Sampa The Great proves the depth and breadth of her talent on her new album. It’s a
homecoming back to her roots as well as a mark of her growing beyond her borders. She is
expansive -she transcends genres and expectations-as both an artist and as a woman. “I can be
everything and anything,” she says. “Nothing is limiting because I can do it all.”

More information


21a31 Terminal West Magnum
887 West Marietta St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 876-5566