Sampha has a great list of production and vocal credits, names like Drake, Katy B, Solange, FKA Twigs, Jessie Ware, Kanye West & even Beyonce. All of this along with two great EPs of his own, means that this album has been sought after for a long time.
Firstly, this album is one of the best records, lyrically that I have heard in a while. One of the stand out tracks is ‘(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano’ with it’s opening:
‘No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
You would show me I have something, some people call a soul’
This is all the more emotional when you hear the story that his parents purchased the piano when Sampha was young, to drag him away from the TV & in the years that followed it become a vessel & escape for his creativity for years. Throughout this album you can hear the sounds of a man laying bear his emotions; the death of his mother in 2015 and some health problems of his own (Plastic 100 oC).
The album is filled with atmosphere and mood, standout tracks Blood On Me, Kora Sings , Incomplete Kisses and Reverse Faults, showing off the different faces of Sampha’s music.
The album closes with ‘What Shouldn’t I Be?’ which is a slow burning ‘ballad’ that opens with the line ‘You can always come home’ and seemingly sees Sampha addressing his family (I should visit my brother) and then finishes off with a bit of self reflection (Its not all about me).
It is hard to remember that this is a debut album as it sounds like an artist who is fully aware of who they are and what they are doing. But when you remember that Sampha has worked with some of the biggest names in music for the last 6 years, it becomes clear that he has been listening, learning and growing as an artist and feeding all of that into this record.