I’ll be honest, I’ve never thought of Sampa debut, “The Return,” as “great.” Very good at times, but never great. With this album, my mind might be changed.\
“African branded” rhythms reflecting the artist’s relocation to Zambia from Australia, carefully curated features from no less than Angelique Kidjo, Joey Bada$$, and Denzel Curry, and seamless movement from song to song make “As Above, So Below,” an ALBUM in the truest sense of the word. The lyrics are contemporary, especially on the song “Mask On” that’s about, yes, not “wearing a mask no more.” The lyrics are also timeless, with savage attacks on a music industry that Sampa believes betrayed her—a common refrain for hip hop and hip hop adjacent artists.
From the write up above, I realize this sounds like a “heavy” album. Lyrically, I guess it is. But it’s also a great head-nodding, lose-yourself dance record—fun and surprising on re-listens.