Lifted Licks: Sampha's "Process"
Every Thursday here on The Elegant Stoner, we pick a musical album that pairs great with your favorite strains, something to put on the stereo, light up some bud of your choice, and just sit back and enjoy. The column is called Lifted Licks, and this week, we're talking about an album earlier this year from Sampha, called Process.
Sampha is a British R&B singer who's collaborated with Kanye West, Drake, Solange, and others, and Process is his first full studio album. Despite technically being a solo debut, the compact and confident 10 songs here display an artist who's already very sure of who he is and what kind of music he wants to make. The songs transition from very chill R&B into more active sci-fi influenced rhythm tracks, and while the tunes are very listenable, the content can get deep. "(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano," Sampha sings on a sparse track of the same name, and you believe him. The album feels almost like a diary in its intimacy, and while some of the tunes languor in quietude, there's passion in almost every note.
In the great "Blood on Me," Sampha builds up beat after beat before erupting into a great chorus about how "they smell the blood on me." He sounds almost like a man so trapped that he has to let it all out ("there's something screaming in me"), and when he does, you can feel the catharsis. The album's opening track is called "Plastic 100 degrees Celsius," and in between Sampha talking about melting away, there are little clips of space transmissions that let you know you're headed somewhere new.
And you are -- nearly every song is full of invention and experimentation. This is the perfect album for a great sativa or a hybrid -- your mind can wander along with Sampha, and dive down into the little spaces and rhythms in between all of the endlessly inventive sounds on display here.
The album came out back in the beginning of the year, but it's being mentioned on many critics' best lists for the year. If you've already heard it, this weekend would be a great time to pull it back up and find something new in it (and you will), and if this flew by your radar the first time around, don't miss it now. This weekend, as you're preparing for holiday festivities or just seeking an escape from the world, this album and a nice high can take you exactly where you need to go.