Sampa the Great? Sampa IS great w/ Pow Negro and Kissinger Kruz

I walked in to catch POW Negro opening the night with their avant garde funk-hop and mellow jazz melodies. Smoothing us over with their brass licks and splitting my mind a little when the sax-man himself decided to crack out the double saxophone mid song like it was just a totally normal thing. WHAT? He was just like ‘oh yeah… have you been enjoying my tasty solos? Well check this out’. Was the mouthpieces specially made? Did he carry some secret bag of air in his shirt that he wasn’t telling us about? I couldn’t really comprehend it then…..I still can’t really comprehend it now… I was sufficiently impressed.

POW NEGROPOW NEGRO @ Jack Rabbit Slims | Photo by Chris Davies

Hip-hop and footwork producer Henry Kissinger and Koi Child’s Cruz Patterson formed Kissinger Kruz. Without the backing of Koi Child and Child’s Play, this was the first time he introduced an array of intriguing personalities to his voice – giving his performance more dynamism and making him sound way more distinguished. The production coming from Henry Kissinger was fluid and striking, and was well suited to Patterson’s alter-ego. The pair invited out Koi Child’s saxophonist Christian Ruggeiro to coat the trap bangers with a velvety echo. Feeling real on top, Patterson etched his newest heavy hip hop personality deeper by being maximum amounts of chilled out onstage, rolling anecdotes of laid-back band practice between the two that I’m sure many in the crowd were just as jealous as they were stunned.

KISSINGER KRUZKISSINGER KRUZ @ Jack Rabbit Slims | Photo by Chris Davies

Sampa is great. Sampa has a penchant for poetic verses weaved through soulful jazz and everything in between. The Sydney-based, Zambria-bred MC projected her name into the stars at Jack Rabbit Slim’s last Saturday night, fortifying her place as one of Australia’s best MC’s, and one of the most real ladies around in music today. Sampa rose to great success last year following the release of her debut The Great Mixtape, which was a marvel in itself. Following that swiftly with another great mixtape — one she managed to throw together in 7 days (my god) when her pals Hiatus Kaiyote asked her to remix Choose Your Weapon.” Too many greats in one sentence. Her performance at Slim’s, was followed by a sold out show to over 21,000 people in May this year supporting Kendrick Lamar. She is also set to play Splendour in the Grass late July. Not too bad for a girl once told in primary school ‘You can’t rap with us, you’re a girl.”  

SAMPA THE GREATSAMPA THE GREAT @ Jack Rabbit Slims | Photo by Chris Davies.

Rolling through “Blue Boss” with a gravelly attitude, her lyrics were sharp enough to cut through the duel drum beat and heavy pipe-organ that reminded me heaps of the Life Aquatic theme music. Then, introducing F.E.M.A.L.E. by asking the crowd “Where are my queens?” like 5 times as every chick in sight magically assembled like some super VIP Queen club, fighting off some serious elation and instant-gratification that we very rarely get to share in, especially within the music scene. Her performance was bewitching – she was a natural energy source to the entire crowd, maintaining such (SUCH) attitude, all the while managing to maintain the most hypnotic energy and emit this magnetic feeling of pride. Pride to be there. Pride to be represented. Pride to be defined by whatever the heck you want.

SAMPA THE GREAT @ Jack Rabbit Slims | Photos by Chris Davies

From bluesy waves of melody, through to spoken word and adventurous rhythmic experiment, her voice was faultless — not from tireless perfection, but instead from years of lived experience and her boundless desire to explore that within music. Which I believed makes for a more dynamic performance anyway. An adventurous spirit with a longing to share her vibrant energy and significant stories. It was an honest, captivating, and inspiring set, and I for one was so stoked that this little lady is destined for nothing but greatness in the music world.

SAMPA THE GREAT @ Jack Rabbit Slims | Photos by Chris Davies