Photo: Barun Chatterjee

Sampa the Great will release her debut album, The Return, via Ninja Tune in September. Alongside the announcement comes new single and video “OMG,” announced today with a World First play on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show.

The Return is built on four years of personal and musical soul-searching, and the product of Sampa having to redefine her self-identity away from the comforts of family and old friends. It sees her tackling big questions, exploring what it means to feel at home, to feel excluded, and to see someone as an outsider. 

“Home is described in a lot of ways and means a lot of different things to different people,” she says. “I had to redefine in my mind and in my spirit what home means.” The album walks us through that return to home, while the lyricism underscores the steps she’s made as an artist. 

Sonically, the album’s reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds. It features collaborations with Silentjay, Slowthai producer Kwes Darko, Clever Austin, Blue Lab Beats, and Syreniscreamy, many of whom she met while studying in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where she arrived after a period in Sydney’s hip-hop and jazz freestyle nights. 

On lead single “OMG,” Sampa addresses ideas of “home” through the exploration of her African heritage. The video was shot between South Africa and Botswana, where she was raised, and gave Sampa the chance to involve her parents in her world. “I got to do something that I’ve never done before,” she says. “Which is to have my parents in one of my music videos. This is the first time they have been involved in my music at this level and it was important for me to express accepting and flexing my culture with the two people who know me most.” 

Sampa the Great’s last release came with 2017’s Birds And The Bee9. 

The Return is out September 13 on Ninja Tune, with “OMG” streaming below. 


01. Mwana (feat. Mwanje Tembo, Theresa Mutale Tembo, Sunburnt Soul Choir)

02. Freedom

03. Wake Up (Interlude)

04. Time’s Up (feat. Krown)

05. Grass Is Greener

06. Dare To Fly (feat. Ecca Vandal)

07. Any Day (feat. Whosane)

08. OMG

09. Light It Up (Interlude)

10. Final Form

11. Heaven (feat. Whosane)

12. Diamond In The Ruff (feat. Thando, Krown)

13. Leading Us Home

14. Summer (feat. Steam Down)

15. Brand New (feat. SILENTJAY)

16. Give Love (Interlude)

17. The Return (feat. Thando, Jace XL, Alien, Whosane)

18. Don’t Give Up (feat. Mandarin Dreams)

19. Made Us Better (feat. Blue Lab Beats, Boadi, Lori)