When he was making the video for the track “Slave,” off his just-released album “Assist,” Duval Timothy rounded up a pair of unimaginable co-stars: Prince and Nipsey Hussle. No, the UK-based ambient-jazz musician didn’t resurrect the late “Purple Rain” icon, who died in 2016, or the late rapper, who died final 12 months, in the shape of holograms, however somewhat he collaborated with visible artist Max Valizadeh to create stop-motion likeness of each to hitch an animated Timothy in his battle towards the tyranny of file labels.
“There’s a deep historical past of Black artists being exploited by largely white-owned file labels,” Timothy explains. “Simply characters like James Brown and so many individuals in hop hop getting messed over. Quite a bit of the music I listened to was tainted by the music being owned by the enterprise folks After which you may have heroic figures like Jay-Z, Nipsey, Prince, Kanye West who liberated themselves from what can possibly be described as shackles.”
Impressed by the efforts of Prince, who famously wore the phrase “SLAVE” printed on his cheek in the ’90s, throughout a protracted battle together with his label Warner Bros. over his grasp recordings, and Hussle’s efforts to retain possession of his work, Timothy liberated himself final 12 months and acquired his personal masters from his previous label I Ought to Care Data.
Whereas his identify could also be much less acquainted to mainstream music followers than these of his heroes, Timothy has been creating his singular model of trendy jazz for practically a decade. Since releasing his debut in 2012, the artist, who divides his time between South London and Sierra Leone, has amassed an ardent cult following. The restricted vinyl version of the “Slave” EP, which dropped on June 18 in advance of its official June 26 launch, offered out inside days.
“My music could also be spoken extra in phrases of a jazz setting,” says Timothy, whose background is in visible arts. “Quite a bit of the album offers with emotions of anxiousness and despair.”
It’s his first launch since buying his grasp recordings, a transfer that, for Timothy, represents a significant step in reversing the fortunes of Black performers in a music business that has usually taken benefit of and underpaid one of its major expertise swimming pools. The dearth of equality is rooted in the very lingo of the enterprise, in phrases like “grasp,” “slave” and “City.”
Timothy provides “the expertise” to the record of triggering phrases: “Being known as ‘the expertise’ is kind of objectifying. It’s demeaning. They’re simply summing you up, saying that’s all you might be. You’re simply the, no matter, ‘expertise.’”
Whereas the lyrics of “Slave” — that are principally only a sampled voice uttering the titular phrase — don’t expound on his argument towards unsavory enterprise practices, the video doesn’t spare the white guys in fits. And lest anybody assume of him as missing inclination to compromise, for the ultimate scene, Timothy is joined on a mountaintop by Prince and Hussle as they prolong a hand to a white government under.
“That final scene the place we provide a hand to the A&R man was fairly essential, to see a imaginative and prescient which is extra of a partnership,” says Timothy. “It’s not like, let’s abolish the system altogether. It’s extra like reform. It’s a big critique, however I’m it from a optimistic future outlook.”
Learn Selection‘s characteristic on race, language and the music business right here and watch the “Slave” video under.