#7 Album of 2017 - Sampha - Process
Back in February of 2017, I knew this record would be one of my top albums of the year. Sampha's simmering, mesmerizing falsetto shines brighter than the north star throughout Process, the debut album from the British singer/songwriter. The sonic surroundings in which he traps his vocals range from trap and hip-hop influences, to a track like '(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano', in which the only instrument is Sampha playing the piano. There is a soothing nature to his voice, but also a pain when he cracks sonically at times to emphasize certain lyrics. One such time came on the opening track, recounting an incredibly horrifying moment on tour when he found a lump in his throat: "Oh, sleeping with my worries, yeah, I didn't really know what that lump was, my luck". He starts the album off with a bang - instrumentally and emotionally.
Other standout tracks for me are 'Blood On Me', 'Kora Sings', and 'Timmy's Prayer'. All sound vastly different, with the first being the most instantly catchy and upward-progressing track in its production. 'Kora Sings' isn't instantly catchy, but after he gets through the first verse, the beat turns into something I could see someone dancing to on any given evening while cooking in the kitchen. As Sampha winds through the sprawling, masterfully put together 10-track debut, he concludes it with a heart-warming track titled 'What Shouldn't I Be?'. This record is a gift to his mother, and as he closes out the album, he sings something that lots of us have heard upon 'leaving the nest' for college from our parents; "You can always come home." As we find throughout the album detailing the tribulations throughout his life, we know this isn't as easy as it may sound for the UK singer. He details his thought process in regards to returning home after the loss of his mother: "I should visit my brother / But I haven't been there in months / I've lost connection, signal / To how we were."
This album may not be the most uplifting, but it is evident this project helped Sampha get certain elements of pain and heartbreak following his tumultuous upbringing off his chest. As 2018 is now here, I for one am excited to see how Sampha capitalizes on his great debut album. We've already seen him featured on Drake's More Life 'playlist' ('4422'), who knows who he may work with next? I certainly don't, but am looking forward to more pleasant surprises from the dreamy falsetto-yielding man they call Sampha.
Where does this album rank in your end of the year list? Let me know your thoughts on the album in the comments/social media!