Album Of The Year 2017 #16: Sampha - ProcessArtist: Sampha Album: Label: Young Turks Release Date: February 3rd 2017
Most probably know Sampha, 29-year-old South London angel, from one of two places, either from his heavy involvement with SBTRKT or from the 2013 smash hit ‘Too Much’ by Drake, perhaps even from his debut EP ‘Dual’ (also released in 2013), regardless, it seems far too long for Sampha not to have a real body of work out to represent himself and only himself by. Know we know that this was due to unfortunate loss and processing everything that came with that, ultimately becoming the back-bone of this album.
The first rumblings of what we now know as Process unveiled themselves in the middle of 2016, initially in the release of ‘Timmy’s Prayer’, what seemed to be a loosie at the time, and in a live rendition of Plastic 100°c along with an incredible Fader article. More silence. Then, finally, at the end of August he releases the audio for ‘Blood On Me’, shortly after announcing Process itself (featuring Timmy’s Prayer and Blood On Me but strangely not Plastic 100°c) and a tour.Review
The album starts off with a sample of astronaut Neil Armstrong, intentionally tying into not only lonely imagery littered throughout the opening track, a reworked ‘Plastic 100°c’, but the incredibly sparse beat that allow his vocals to really shine and absorb all of your attention, a common occurrence during the 40-minute runtime of this album. It immediately takes a sharp left turn sonically into the heavy thumping ‘Blood On Me’ an almost panic inducing paranoia anthem with a (vocally) incredibly powerful hook, while still maintaining that emotionally dense solitude that was prevalent on the intro.
Sampha then transitions his sights to his mother in ‘Kora Sings’, an incredible bouncy but still very heartfelt song about her gradual loss of strength and mobility and the denial this causes in Sampha which resorts to bargaining, eventually fading out until there’s just the sounds of rain. This is then followed by one of my person favourites on the album, ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’, a track that is simply Sampha’s incredible voice lightly resting on top of his own calm but purposeful piano playing. It’s just under 4 minutes long and yet it feels so incredibly short, trading any depth or density to let the words he sings just breathe over the track and rest in your mind, a thank you to his parents for the kickstart of his musical journey via the piano in his mother’s home and a longing for happier and healthier times.
‘Take Me Inside’ almost feels like an interlude into the love portion of the album as this and the two following all revolve heavily around the emotion of love, with the aforementioned track being about losing love and the following track ‘Reverse Faults’ about dealing with the fallout of that and how that affects his future relationships, with his volatile emotional reaction due to button pressing and distance creation instead of attempting to rectify situations. This is another one of my favourite tracks on the album for easily the best instrumental on this album, it’s this brooding electronic beat with heavy drums that still allows room for his voice and his backing vocals. The following track, ‘Under’, is another fantastic piece in a similar vein to ‘Reverse Faults’ with a moody electronic beat that really drives the feeling of Sampha trying to break free of this lover that’s consumed his mind, starting off with this hypnotic mantra and having the beat slowly build alongside it before he loses himself inside of the thoughts of her. It’s an interesting break from dealing with the loss of his mother that should feel out of place but almost feels like a breath of fresh air from all the pressure of loss.
‘Timmy’s Prayer’ finally brings the focus back round to Sampha’s mother, the first real single for Process, truly encapsulates the emotion brought out from his mother’s death, the obvious pain from the loss, the guilt from him thinking or wishing he could’ve done more, the yearning for more time with her and sadness when the realization repeatedly hits him that she’s not. I wasn’t really feeling this much when it first came out (compared to Plastic 100°c and Blood On Me) but it’s so powerful and was a great choice for first official single. ‘Incomplete Kisses’ follows this, expressing how Sampha must let these previous emotions go and learn to open up instead of letting them consume him and close him off to the world.
The final track (on most versions of the album, sorry Japan), ‘What Shouldn’t I Be?’, feels like Sampha finding peace after processing such a tragic event, and wondering what the future holds for him now that he’s alone in the world, even with his brother still being out there there’s this distance which cannot be overcome. This track, much like ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ are both sparse and let Sampha’s incredible vocals really get the emotional weight across which is really where he shines. Having listened to this every month since release consistently with new appreciation for certain parts on each listen I can safely say this incredibly thoughtful emotional rollercoaster is going to sit with me for a very long time and I cannot wait for what comes next from Sampha.Favourite Lyrics Kora Sings
A pillow on your face soaking up those tears, who’s anyone to say you should have no fear? A mouth full of smoke really made things clear, you’ve been with me since the cradle, you’ve been with me, you’re my angel, please don’t you disappearReverse Faults
There’s a fault in my structure, it’s always you and never me. I threw the blame and it shattered, and now there’s broken glass praying to be healed. You struck a chord and I listened, you damn near broke all the strings. When you get close I get distant, instead I’ll drive away to a place surreal, and tell me how that feelsUnder
Sophisticated bitter queen, you’re the ghost in my machine, as I sit at my piano and flick through every channelDiscussion Questions
1) Where do you see (or where do you want to see) Sampha go next?
2) How has music brought you help or insight about any kind of loss that allowed you to break through your emotional fog?
3)With there being over 40 tracks made for this album, do you think artists in the genre should be putting out more b-sides or do you think it would have too much of an effect on how they’re viewed overall (as being the best is a weirdly prominent goal in hip-hop)
Always fucked with the Blacker the Berry hook hard
Its kinda baffling how Assassin didn't blow up ,after his features on I'm In It and this he should have been the go to hook killer.
I don't think he ever got a "feat. Assassin" from either of them which hurt him imo. I remember listening to The Blacker the Berry like "Hey is this the guy from I'm In It or am I being racist" and had to look it up
It isn't racist to think voices sound like eachother you bimbo.
Yea, become the modern day early 2000s Nate Dogg
[First Impressions] Eminem - Revival
This gon be a fun thread
This motherfucker forgot about Dre
I honestly don't know what happened here. I thought that this album was going to be Eminem finally coming into the current state of hip hop, but as every revelation about the album came out, it went further and further from that.
Revival feels like Em looking at every bit of criticism he got from the last few albums (and even some he addressed on Walk on Water) and just doubling down on it. Immature lyrics, check. Unnecessary pop features that add nothing, check. Dated Alex da Kid production (Need Me is a horribly overproduced and noisy song), check. Lazy Rick Rubin beats that are just unchanged classic rock samples, check. Terribly sung hooks by Em, songs that go on for too long, offbeat rapping, a complete lack of focus, this basically takes all of the worst things about Recovery/MMLP2/Shady XV and jams it into one album. It's like all of that self awareness on Walk on Water was just immediately ignored.
The times that the album does seem to try to adapt to the modern rap game weren't well done either. The trap beats remind me of Taylor Swift's last album of all things in that they're obviously producers who don't make trap beats trying to make trap beats. Em has enormous amounts of influence and I doubt the budget on this album was cheap, he could have gotten a guy who knows how to make this type of beat and make it sound good. Every other bit of what seemed like change from the last few albums is nowhere in sight. The 2 Chainz collaboration? Cuts 2 Chainz off the song entirely. He works with Anderson Paak? Doesn't make the album. Working with Dr. Dre again? Dre has one production credit on a 30 second interlude and Alex Da Kid produces five songs. It's just so frustrating that everything that seemed to be indicating a, well, revival for Eminem with fresh material turned out to be misleading. There were maybe 3-4 songs on this album that would have sounded out of place on Recovery or MMLP2 or even Shady XV. Everything felt so bland and half-assed and there doesn't feel like any logical artistic progression from any of the last few albums.
All that's really left to talk about is the subject matter and the features. The cover indicates that Revival, after his very public thrashing of Trump, is Em's angry political album. It's not. The subject comes up a few times, but is handled really clumsily on a terrible song (Untouchable) or handled better but on a really forgettable, dated, and generic track (Like Home). The album does get into some interesting new material on the closing song Arose, but it's really too little too late. A lot of the rest of it is just retreadings of the same subject matter he's been covering for years. The features are so lazily used as well. I don't think there was a single one of them who wasn't just doing a punch-clock hook. A guest verse would have broken up the monotony, but the album has no guest rappers really rapping, so it never comes. It's just Eminem for 19 songs with an occasional lazy hook from a pop act. I was honestly interested in the direction this album would go and how Eminem would come into the modern state of hip hop, but he just didn't. I think it's time for him to retire, honestly, because this album is just depressing.
If Eminem makes another album after this he and rick rubin need to be on separate continents during the recording process. The production and egregious rock samples somehow got even worse on this album
Dre apparently executive produced this album. I'm assuming he did it over the phone during his toilet breaks.
you sleeping on yg then
Still Brazy > MKL
only here for lil kodak
His second was even better than his first imo
That was clean Tony Fantano
I don't usually watch these, but that bit with him going in on Ameer and was pretty hilarious, not going to lie
It's been a minute since I've seen Cal in a review.
I'd rank it higher but with how (I feel) Fantano reviews stuff this doesn't surprise me so much. He factors in his expectations for an artist. For Sat I to drop without (much) hype around it, and given the quality jump from AAT to Sat I, it's more impactful at the time, hence a 9.
After Sat I the bar was set damn high and the expectation to meet and exceed was there. So even when they release Sat II and now Sat III and it's up to par, it's I guess easier to be critical knowing what BH is capable of and wanting them to propel themselves further, hence 8s.
Sidebar this is also how I reconcile going from a 10 for TPAB to DAMN being a 7.
Just my interpretation I guess.
Where is the fucking Juicy J remix?
Nicki Minaj just remixing whatever songs hot and then claim it as a win when it charts then post it on instagram
Okay Ferg stop playing and release the Juicy J remix
Dude she's even been creeping into Latino hip hop and trap too. It's so weird.
Daily Discussion Thread 12/15/2017
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when keeping it real goes wrong
I got circumcised today, what are some chill albums to listen to while I recover?
RIP to lil homie
Listen to Jewish rappers! Drake, Mac Miller, and Action Bronson
so........he's back with this lit shit
my dog barking is better than most mumble raps, not a very useful method of comparison
Beep Boop... I am a bot. I tried finding this song on other streaming platforms. Here is what I found
I didn't find it on YouTube
I didn't find it on Soundcloud
If I've made a mistake please downvote me. I'll try better next time
Delete this nephew
Of all songs to share from the new album...
Only song on the album I absolutely hated. We have to get through 2 minutes of pink to hear one Em verse?
spotify bois working their way down the tracklist hold on lads
edit: ok we good now
I'm imagining all the BH dudes sitting in their living room scheming like "guys how many posts do you think we can get on the frontpage of /sub/hhh in one day?"
Lowkey kept thinking they couldn't impress me again but they are maturing/evolving each album. This is smooth as heck