For those who may not know or are just finding out, Sampha is a British singer, songwriter, and producer who has previously collaborated with Drake, Kanye West, and Solange to name a few, and now more recently has released his debut album entitled Process to much critical acclaim.
While he’s certainly deserving of a more proper introduction, Sampha is the type of artist where the music is better off speaking for him than anything else, and once you press play on his album it’s likely that you’ll forever be a fan of his work.
Music from the soul from the other side of the Atlantic, Process is critiqued track by track below
“It's so hot I've been melting out here, I'm made out of plastic out here, you touched down in the base of my fears, Houston, can-can-can you hear?” A decent introduction that sets the tone of the album, with strong production from Rodaidh McDonald and Sampa himself, complete with an added nice touch of a Neil Armstrong sample (the astronaut) which blends nicely within the concept of the record.
Blood On Me
“I swear they smell the blood on me, I hear them coming for me” The vibe is menacing on this one and it seems to deliver on its purpose, however overall I’d say this is a debatable filler / nice album cut. Ultimately it's tough to call this one.
“There's no one here for miles, it's just me in the burning sun, it's just me, myself and my gun” This one I’ll be more deliberate and respectfully pass on this… this one’s not for me and I doubt it’s for you… SKIP!
No One Knows Me (Like The Piano)
“No one knows me like the piano in my mother's home, you would show me I had something some people call a soul, and you dropped out the sky, oh you arrived when I was three years old, no one knows me like the piano in my mother's home” This right here is a monumental record, produced once again by Rodaidh McDonald and Sampha himself (as is the case throughout the album) this is dedicated to his mother, who he cared for in his childhood home once she was diagnosed with cancer. For that reason this track is incredibly moving and the lyrics and melody are profound in every way imaginable… a perfect tribute within a perfect song.
Take Me Inside
“Does he still make your blood rush? these days I'm just not sure how to feel, does he still make you run wild? silence, and your lips were sealed, as if you didn't care, and your love was gone, her love was lost, calm before the storm…” another standout driven by incredible production and songwriting. This along with the previous record exemplified why Sampha is one of the most talented singers in the world.
“Took the brake pads out the car, and I flew, smashed this window in my heart and I blamed you, this anger's taking me apart, explosive truths, except this time I went too far and I hurt you” Another ride… a very very very strong album cut. Another one I’d recommend.
“Sophisticated bitter queen, you're the ghost in my machine, as I sit at my piano, and flick through every channel, channeling those memories, trying to put an end to these” More quality music, thus far Sampha (as well as producer Rodaidh McDonald) have proven to be consistent.
“If ever you're listening, if heaven's a prison, then I am your prisoner, yes, I am your prisoner” This one’s apparently co-written by Kanye West and it’s another enjoyable record.
“Those incomplete kisses, were weighing you down with every step, in this house we're sinking, but we're too far numb to really care” This is one of those infectious melodies that can stay with you for days… another highlight off the tape.
What Shouldn’t I Be
“I should visit my brother, but I haven't been there in months, I've lost connection, signal, to how we were” Very simple yet eerily smooth production that might be my favorite instrumental on the album, this is legendary music that needs far more recognition, yet I’m sure all over the world there are thousands of people who love this record more than anything else. This is a cult classic without a doubt.
Overall I won’t hesitate to call this album an incredible work of art, where from start to finish Sampha and Rodaidh McDonald capture a sound that’s so distinct it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Yet this is the type of music that almost always gets overlooked and underappreciated in the moment, and likely only many years later will this album get the shine it deserves. For now it will simply remain a music lover’s best kept secret, and for that matter it’s impact is already significant enough.