Sampa The Great Wins The 13th Australian Music Prize

Sampa The Great
Marc Grimwade/WireImage

Sampa The Great performs at St Jerome's Laneway Festival on Jan. 26, 2017 in Brisbane.

Sampa The Great’s album Birds and the BEE9 has won the Australian Music Prize.

The AMP, now in its 13th year, is modeled on Britain's Mercury Music Prize and Canada's Polaris Prize and is decided by a music industry panel, whose goal is to identify and reward the outstanding creative Australian album of the past year.

The Zambia-born, Sydney-based rapper (real name Sampa Tembo) took out the prestigious award and its A$30,000 ($23,600) winner’s check, presented by the collecting society and principal partner PPCA. 

“I didn’t see any of this in my periphery when coming to Australia. It really means a lot to me thank you,” she said Friday (March 9) following the annual AMP presentation, which took place for the first time at Melbourne’s Town Hall.

Sampa The Great's mixtape won from a shortlist including eight other records by the likes of Jen Cloher, Liars and Paul Kelly, while 430 albums were submitted for the prize.

Tembo said her breakthrough album was about "igniting an uncomfortable conversation" around race and identity in Australia, "knowing it's an uncomfortable conversation, but knowing that it needs to happen for things to change for the better,” the ABC reports.

"We are all here, we are influenced and inspired by each other, we are influenced by each other's music, even though we are from different backgrounds," she noted. "It's just understanding all those different backgrounds, and working together to make it better for everyone."

Previous winners of the AMP include Remi, Big Scary, Hermitude, The JezabelsCourtney Barnett and last year’s champ, A.B. Original.

The 13th AMP Shortlist
Beaches – “Second of Spring”
Darcy Baylis – “Intimacy & Isolation”
HTML flowers – “Chrome Halo”
Jen Cloher – “Jen Cloher”
Jordan Rakei – “Wallflower”
Liars – “TFCF”
Paul Kelly – “Life is Fine”
Sampa The Great – “Birds and the BEE9”
The Vampires –“The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke”?

Previous AMP winners:
2016 – ‘Reclaim Australia’ by A.B.Original
2015 – ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit’ by Courtney Barnett
2014 – ‘Raw X Infinity’ by REMI
2013 – ‘Not Art’ by Big Scary
2012 – ‘Hyperparadise’ by Hermitude
2011 – ‘Prisoner’ by The Jezabels
2010 – ‘Bliss Release’ by Cloud Control
2009 – ‘Wonder’ by Lisa Mitchell
2008 – ‘Primary Colours’ by Eddie Current Suppression Ring
2007 – ‘Devil’s Elbow’ by The Mess Hall
2006 – ‘Moo, You Bloody Choir’ by Augie March
2005 – ‘Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By’ by The Drones