Episode 246: Sampa the Great

“Let Me Be Great (feat. Angélique Kidjo)”




Sampa the Great is a songwriter, rapper, and singer from Zambia. She was based in Australia for years, but came back to Zambia in 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit. When she couldn’t travel, she decided to make her next album there in Lusaka. The album is called As Above, So Below, and it was produced by Mag44. In this episode, Sampa the Great and Mag44 break down the closing song ““Let Me Be Great,” which features vocals from legendary West African singer Angélique Kidjo, winner of 5 Grammys and one of TIME‘s Most Influential People. I got to speak to Angélique Kidjo in her studio in Paris, and I spoke to Sampa the Great and Mag44 in Lusaka. Together, the three of them tell the story of how they made “Let Me Be Great.”

You can buy or stream “Let Me Be Great” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes:
NPR Tiny Desk Concerts
Watch Angélique Kidjo’s 2022 NPR Tiny Desk Concert, with a guest appearance from Sampa the Great, here
Fela Kuti
Kalindula
Lozi people
Afro-pop
Afrofuturism
Yoruba language