Photo: Barun Chatterjee
Sampa the Great is next in line for the throne bearing the most unapologetically political artist. The Zambia-born, Botswana-raised rapper has supported several of her predecessors in this ferocious royal family on various tour dates, such as Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, and Ms. Lauryn Hill, among others. Her first release in 2019, "Final Form," is a remorseless black power anthem that is a monumental declaration of the young artist's presence.
The core of the track doesn't change much throughout the song - but that doesn't matter. Built on bedrock of a merciless kick-snare drum beat, a tumultuous brass section, and rapturous background vocals, "Final Form" is three and a half minutes of unbridled fervor. Atop the racket, Sampa the Great discharges verse after verse of defiant lyrics, spitting fire like "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh / Greatness is in me, you can't make me feel less / Less hold, I'm not impressed / Best mode, got my afro like an empress."
According to Sampa, the meaning of the song has multiple layers. In particular, she highlights the value of the creative process regardless of commercial success. She reveals,
"It's easy to get caught up in the constant chatter around you about how 'you are not there yet,' how you 'might not make it.' 'Final Form' is about expanding yourself and calling out any negativity towards that growth process. As an artist I now recognize my in-between stage; sometimes it drops and sometimes it rises, but I love that I get to level up each second. I might even final form tomorrow."
The artist, who recently signed to Ninja Tune Records, dropped a music video along with the track. Filmed in Zambia, it bridges the gap between the traditional and contemporary in her native country, featuring both indigenous Nyau dancers and aspects of modern Zambian youth culture. Check it out here - you won't be able to keep your eyes off Sampa the Great: