Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Sampa the Great

Sampa the Great is new to me (see below), but I am digging on this entire record.


A couple weeks ago my Drinking with Comics cohost Mike Wellman sent me this interview with Mike Patton. Fantastic discussion, but of special interest here is his mention of Sampa the Great, who I'd never heard of before and whose 2019, award-winning record The Return is currently blowing my mind. Here's my favorite track (so far) on an album where there are a lot of tracks and all of them are good.

What I love best here is the fact that, if you go to the All-Music entry on The Return and check the credits, almost all of the instrumentation is real, very little in the way of samples. Plus, all of it hits that 70s Soul/ R&B sweet spot I love so much. You know, back before people considered crap like beyonce R&B.


Death Valley Girls - Under the Spell of Joy
Perturbator - Excess (Single)
Perturbator/Author & Punisher - Excess n (Single Remix)
Vreid - Wild North West
Sampa the Great - The Return
Deftones - Ohms
Ice-T - Power



The Queen of Disks always feels like a bit of an indictment to me. Kind of the spiritual or theoretical equivalent of Dante's change experiment in Clerks (yeah, I know that's an odd reference to tie into Tarot). While your better self (or Star self as I always imagine Crowley called it and didn't) is looking the other way, are you participating in something you shouldn't? The goat up front staring at us, essentially breaking the fourth wall, is a reminder you should always be aware, because others are whether you realize it or not.

There's a reminder of culpability here that I like, and whenever I see it, I try and run a mental checklist to see if all my ducks are indeed in a row. Interestingly, I feel like there's an element of that in The Return, as the record is peppered with dialogue snippets - mostly third party phone messages by Sampa's friends - that seem bent on making her understand something the world around her expects of her, but that she herself has left behind. And that's part of culpability, too, making sure that just because the world expects something of you, if it doesn't align with who you actually are inside, you're not falling in line. Keep your ducks in a row, not theirs.

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