Jamie 3:26 & Masalo & Sameed – Testify / Can’t U

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‘Testify / Can’t U’ is the 74th release by Local Talk. The Swedish label fronted by Mad Mats, who has been a well-known figure within the Stockholm music scene since he swapped his successful breakdancing career (which saw him become the Swedish champion in 1985) to become a DJ in the mid 1980’s, and also by Tooli, who is renowned for his 24:hrs party and blog.

The release is politically charged and protests against the daily struggles that many African Americans living in the US are subject to. It opens with a collaboration from the Chicago legend Jamie 3:26 and Amsterdam’s Masalo which is followed by two tracks from Sameed

Jamie 3:26 and Masalo (aka Masashi Bob de Loos) formed a close friendship when Masalo was booked for a gig in Amsterdam. Their track, ‘Testify’, juxtaposes upbeat, funk percussion with raw vocals and desperate lyrics like “Can’t you hear mothers crying? I wonder can I get a witness” which highlights the detrimental problems of police brutality towards African Americans in the US.

Sameed also used this sample in “Can’t U” which was interesting as both versions used it in a different way. “Testify” used a lot more of the sample whereas in “Can’t U” Sameed used shorter clips of the vocals, instead placing increased emphasis on the percussion to create a more disco-fuelled track.

Sameed rounds the EP off in a stupendous manner with ‘Dusty Jazz’, which with its relaxed Fender Rhodes driven jazz-house seems the only appropriate way to end this politically charged EP, especially as jazz originated from African American communities in New Orleans about 100 years ago and has been used ever since as a way to express African American experiences.