CD/LP Sub Pop
Experemental Hip Hop
Shabazz Palaces is the new project from Ishmael Butler of the early 90’s hip hop group Digable Planets who you may remember from their classic Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That). With Palaces Butler has made a triumphant return to music and brought a new approach that he must’ve been working on this whole time. It’s really hard to put your finger on what exactly it is that’s so fucking dope about Shabazz Palaces…because the whole thing is an aesthetic (or to use their own words “it’s a feeling” 2:04). This record is a collage of wonky beats that could really be an electronic ambient record on their own. It’s a perfect amalgam of the jazzy sample based beats that made Digable Planets so cool, and the off kilter electronic beats that Odd Future have popularized, but a lot of other people are doing better. The aesthetic of this album lies in a space between all the things that have ever been cool about rap, from futuristic production techniques, to smooth lyrical delivery, and beyond. It’s like there is not one real aim to this record, just when you think that it’s gotten too abstract and ambient it hits you with an undeniable hook, and then once you think, ok this must be the straightforward part, they throw you a curveball with some pitch shifted vocals or a spacey interlude. I really hate trying to describe this album, so just watch the beautiful video above (click “it’s a feeling”) or listen to the whole thing here. I recommend putting this record on while you draw, or paint, or sculpt, or rollerblade, or restore a car…whatever you do.