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The best (and worst) new singles this week: Sampa the Great, Kamaal Williams, and more

We also hear from Kymie and a collaboration between Birdz and Ecca Vandal.

Single of the Week

Sampa the Great feat. Nadeem Din-Gabisi 

Energy (Independent)

Over the last three years Melbourne-based Sampa Tembo has done nothing to undercut her self-assigned greatness. A gifted rapper, singer and poet, Tembo already sounds like a veteran of the game. With help from London-based poet Nadeem Din-Gabisi as well as Silent Jay and Rahki’s spiritual production, ‘Energy’ finds her entirely in charge and operating on a different wavelength to her contemporaries. Never one to shy away from the big topics, Sampa makes a pitch for healing, acknowledging the multi-faceted nature of feminine energy and for erasing the destruction and shame borne of misunderstanding.  

Kamaal Williams feat. Mansur Brown 

Snitches Brew (Black Focus)

London composer and keyboardist Kamaal Williams is taking an acid-jazz victory lap following a successful year. His 2018 LP The Return had its share of levitating instrumentation, but was altogether a quite diligently composed mix of contemporary jazz, hip hop, funk and street energy. On ‘Snitches Brew’, Williams and guitarist Mansur Brown say, “fuck it,” and let rip atop some pretty batshit drumming. Give it a listen and just try to resist the urge to form a jam band.  

Kymie 

Needs (Kym Schrickker)

There’s nothing particularly new going on here stylistically. You’d have a hard time pinpointing what country this is from, but it’s undoubtedly contemporary. Western Sydney performer Kymie flexes her various on-mic skills, busting out irresistible rhymes and earworm melodies all about being irresistible. The production, courtesy of fellow Western Sydney leading light, Kwame, is bare bones trap. Kymie uses this to her advantage, commanding the spotlight towards her unshakeable female power.  

Birdz feat. Ecca Vandal 

Place of Dreams (Bad Apples)

Although this song itself is immensely compelling, it also makes you desire more from both performers. There aren’t many in Australia who can match Ecca Vandal for creative elasticity, star power and sheer talent. She supplies the centrally uplifting vocal hook to ‘Place of Dreams’ while NT-native Birdz jumps in for a couple of lyrically provocative verses. He’s a personable MC with an unvarnished vocal style that suits the song’s family friendly boom-bap production. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a full-length collab between the pair.