Jazz music is an artform that has always had a close relationship with rap music, whether through the samples driving classic material from acts like A Tribe Called Quest or groups like The Roots being comprised of live instrumentalists who internalized the spirit of jazz. The connection between these two sounds continues to manifest itself in the sounds of artists ranging from Kendrick Lamar to King Krule, and Sydney, Australia’s Sampa the Great, who is set to release her upcoming project Birds and the BEE9 on November 10th (partnered with Big Dada), has shown evident reverence for these two genres (along with the sounds of soul) on her excellent new single “Bye River”.
Sampa’s first of multiple charged verses on the song does not even appear until the 3:30 mark as she spends much of the song harmonizing with the ever-evolving instrumentation in a way that detracts from neither her presence nor the dense musical arrangement borderline engulfing her. They stand on an equal platform with each other in a way that makes “Bye River” embody jazz just as much as hip hop, with Sampa and the music often mixing together as one force, whether through the aforementioned harmonizing or how the instrumentation refuses to stay stagnant even in the midst of her poetic verses.
With this track, Sampa has delivered an artful and spiritual mixture of two genres that have only grown to further influence each other over the years and has proved that her forthcoming project is worthy of feverish anticipation.