Undiscovered Gold: Sampha

All rights to this photo belongs to Sampha.
All rights to this photo belongs to Sampha.

Written by Damani Adadevoh

Hip Hop and R&B music has changed. Hip Hop has long since its birth been folk music; music of the people. And in my opinion it has remained youthful by remaining an urban art form that can quickly be appropriated by various cultures. Only in this genre are artists demanded by their fans to innovate and bring something new to the listener’s ear, else rumors spread that they’ve fallen off and are no longer considered the king or queen of their respective musical territory.

Hip Hop is competitive and sport culture will forever go hand in hand with Hip Hop music because of the lyrical skill and talent that we see in Hip Hop music. Hip Hop and R&B superfans or “Stans” look for artists to not only grow from humble mixtape beginnings but to diversify because nobody wants to just be a rapper or singer anymore. They want their own brand. In a recent interview I watched with Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino; he spoke about the music simply being advertisement for his brand. But what else can we expect when music can no longer be a real profitable product. We all know that anyone can just go online and download the newest song from their favorite artist (Thanks a lot Napster and LimeWire).

Luckily, this hasn’t discouraged artists from pouring their hearts into good music. There are still the more avid listeners that will criticize artists for making “pop music” and “radio hits”, tracks the artist most likely believes will do well on the charts without containing any true substance simply because it mimics the sound of “what’s hot right now”. In my personal opinion R&B will be the new space where talented creatives can really shine. Hip Hop continues to be more and more commercialized (S/o to those McDonalds commercial raps) and continues to distance itself from its origins whereas I believe the palate of the masses for sultry vocalists has expanded and artists like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd have been allowed to come through from the underground scene and really shine in the forefront. I myself am a huge fan of these acts and I am constantly on the lookout for artists with similar talent. These artists often reveal themselves in parts. By leaking one track at a time they enjoy distancing themselves from immediate stardom in order to slowly build their character and public persona.

One such artist who we know very little about thus far is the illustrious Sampha Sisay who simply goes by the mononym, Sampha. Already Sampha has built and impressive collaborative record by working with artist such as producer SBTRKT (pronounced
‘subtract’) as well as more well-known artists such as Solange Knowles, Jessie Ware, and my personal hero “Octobers Very
Own” Aubrey Drake Graham. On his own Sampha only has 2 EPs Sundaza (2010) and Dual (2013) both of which I have listened to extensively and highly recommend to anyone familiar with musicians such as The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, James Fauntleroy, James Blake, JMSN, Toro Y Moi, and Jai Paul. But to fans of EDM and Electronic music Sampha has long been a collaborator with SBTRKT whose club tempo beats are coupled nicely with Sampha’s smooth vocals and British vernacular. Be on the lookout for this rising star who has already made a name for himself.


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