Watch Sampa The Great cover Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DNA’ for Like a Version

With her band in tow, Sampa adds a Zamrock flavour to Lamar's 2017 'DAMN.' cut

Sampa The Great has covered Kendrick Lamar‘s ‘DNA’ for triple j’s Like a Version, marking her first appearance on the segment as a lead artist after guesting on instalments with Denzel Curry and Ecca Vandal.

With her full band in tow, the Zambian-Australian rapper’s rendition of Lamar’s 2017 ‘DAMN.’ cut switches things up considerably, infusing it with the Zamrock influence heard on her new album ‘As Above, So Below’.

In the breakdown, Sampa delivers her own freestyle verse before returning to the original lyrics with an intense build-up and crescendo. Watch Sampa’s cover of ‘DNA’ below:


In a post-performance interview, Sampa explained that supporting Lamar on the Sydney date of the rapper’s 2016 Australian tour was a “huge inspiration” for her to “take being an artist seriously”.

Explaining the sonic changes that she and her band made to ‘DNA’, Sampa elaborated: “There’s a certain sound that kalindula has in the guitar that made this Zamrock.

“A lot of the drum work as well made it Zamrock. The harmonies that we carry in our traditional music as well made it Zamrock, and we kind of switched everything. I’m still rapping like Kendrick raps in the song, but rapping this over traditional music.”

In addition to ‘DNA’, Sampa performed her ‘As Above, So Below’ single ‘Let Me Be Great’. Watch that below:


‘As Above, So Below’, the follow-up to Sampa’s 2019 Australian Music Prize-winning debut album ‘The Return’, arrived last Friday (September 9). Collaborators on the album include the likes of Curry, Angelique Kidjo, Joey Bada$$, Kojey Radical, Chef 187 and Sampa’s sister, Mwanjé.

“The record is a heartfelt, honest homage to a country and continent, created by a powerful, unapologetic artist,” NME said of ‘As Above, So Below’ in a four-star review. “This intelligent, harmonious and compelling album shows just how much Sampa The Great has grown over her years in the limelight.”