Upon announcing the album Don’t Trip which is slated for release via Forward Music Group and Black Buffalo Records on 22th July, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based artist, Lance Sampson – aka AQUAKULTRE – unveils his new single also titled, ‘Don’t Trip.’
The CBC Searchlight award-winning rapper and neo-soul writer, who has previously scooped Polaris Prize nominations, is joined by over 20 guests from locations spanning the globe. This roll call includes New Jersey hip-hop hero Ransom, South African R&B singer Amarafleur, Toronto-based R&B and pop artist, Tafari Anthony, and Halifax’s Zamani Miller, daughter of Delvina Bernard from legendary a capella group Four The Moment.
Despite its massive guest list, Don’t Trip is a deeply personal project. Sampson began working on the full-length follow-up to his breakout album, Legacy, in March 2020 while the pandemic lockdown forced him to remain inside with his family. The album was originally conceptualized as a five-song EP based on the first three weeks of a budding relationship with his partner, Julia when they barely left her bedroom. Eating ice cream and pizza, drinking wine, and listening to Lauryn Hill records was the start of a passionate love affair.
“I called the album Don’t Trip because when Julia and I first met we were both in a place of being tired of looking for someone,” Sampson explains. “Both of us were getting out of exhausting relationships where we had done everything in our power to make them work. Once we met each other, it was like closing that chapter of looking for the right person.”
This first single started out with listening to Snow’s “Be Like You” over and over and over, it inspired Sampson to want to make something that good and that ambitious. “Once I actually started to sit down to compose the beat,” he explains, “I found myself picking up a little keyboard Rich Aucoin donated to a studio we were raising money for. After a couple of hours, the beat was made, and it wasn’t too long after that the lyrics just started flowing. Jools [Julia] kept on telling me that it was the “jam” and I didn’t really believe it at first until I started showing the progress to other people, and they always pointed this one out, out of the bunch. “Don’t Trip” is just about reassuring each other in a relationship that this is for real, this is long term, and no matter what, we got enough trust in one another where we don’t have to worry about anything.“
In the process of reaching out to musicians he admired, Don’t Trip expanded into the most ambitious project of Aquakultre’s career. “I’m For Real” finds him trading bars with Ransom against a g-funk backdrop, with cuts by local legend DJ Uncle Fester. “Getting Close” shows off Sampson’s rapping skills with a little help from Black Buffalo’s Sargeant X Comrade. “It’s All Good”, featuring Lakita Wiggins and Trobiz, was inspired by Musiq Soulchild’s classic album Aijuswanaseing. Don’t Trip wraps up like a brown paper bag in Sampson’s closing collaboration with New Jack Swing duo DJ Chidow and Vadell Gabriel, bringing those house party vibes back in full effect.
Check out the official video for Aquakultre’s single below…