Samfl3 (Pronounced sUM-FLaa or SUN-FLer)

Listening to Nortey "Samfl3" Dowuona, one gets the feeling that the music he makes couldn't possibly have been taught or passed on, that it must be entirely and exclusively a product of the artist's own ingenuity. The beats sound more like videogame soundtracks than instrumentals somebody made to rap over, yet he insists (at least on his debut) that there's sampling involved; the vocals somehow recall both nursery rhymes and the early '00s cram-a-million-words-into-each-line style, yet they remain strangely in the pocket no matter how wild the keyboard arrangements backing them get.

Samfl3's debut album is called Notice the Cat; its followup, Window Dressing, also features cats on the cover. The biography he sent me a year ago begins: "Nortey Dowuona first started rapping after watching several tv shows and, wanting to be a voice actor, started recording his voice on his iPod Touch in 2012, then recording a Spiderman tune he remembered from the 1992 tv show. After finding the instrumental for Martians and Goblins by the Game, a song he enjoyed, he started free styling about an actual war between martians and humans, with goblins helping to defeat them." It goes on from there, explaining in detail his artistic development leading up to the release of said debut. Samfl3 grew up in Accra, Ghana, then moved to Garden City. Eight of the album's 10 songs were recorded on holiday in La, Ghana.

Dig a little deeper and you'll find All American Opera, "an electronica album influenced by hip-hop and R&B," which Samfl3 put out in 2013, with song titles including "Spiders Eating Maggots out of the Dead Breasts of Chichidodos," "A Lack of Video Games and an Abundance of Internet," "It's Not Paranoia..." and "...If They're Actually After You." It's lit. So is Notice the Cat, though it took me all of a year to finally cover it here. In the interim, Samfl3 has uploaded three more albums to Bandcamp, one of which has the amazing title, I Had No Keyboard, So I Made Raps. Like I said, this is not so much rap as an oral tradition but more rap as a purely personal expression. It's its own thing.

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