Tuesday, July 29
Shabazz Palaces, an experimental hip-hop duo consisting of Ishamael Butler and Tendai Maraire, may not have released their first songs together until 2009, but they’ve been a part of the rap scene longer than some of its members have been alive. Butler got his start MCing in the early 90s with the jazz-rap collective Digable Planets, a trio who went on to release two full lengths—Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) in 1993 and Blowout Comb in 1994—but split in 1995 due to creative differences.
All stayed quiet on the duo’s front until two mysterious EPs popped up in 2009. Aptly titled Of Light and Shabazz Palaces, the exploratory EPs immediately caught the eyes of the big wigs at Sub Pop Records. They signed Shabazz Palaces that year as one of the few hip-hop acts on a rock-oriented label.
In 2011, Shabazz Palaces released their debut LP, Black Up, an album that finds the duo continuing to craft forward-thinking hip-hop both lyrically and sonically: its beats blow your mind—and make you want to move too; Butler’s lyrics could stand solo as poems and they’d still be pretty darn great.
Shabazz Palaces will release their follow up, Lese Majesty, next Tuesday. Based on what I’ve heard, it appears the collective is again shifting sonically forward. When Black Up was released, it felt like hip-hop made for another planet. Excitingly, Lese Majesty sounds like it was made for another galaxy.
Kayla: Hey everyone, a new album release is coming to Murfie on Tuesday, July 29th. Shabazz Palaces are coming out with Lese Majesty. So James, you’re a fan—what are your thoughts on the new album release?
James: It’s a wonderful surprise. I had no idea they were coming out with new material until it was announced. And that’s actually how I discovered them in the first place. I was at my local record store and the owner said, “Hey, do you like Digable Planets?”—Which I did, I really appreciated their fusion of jazz and hip hop. And he said, “Here’s some new material by that guy from Digable Planets.” He was referring to Ishmael Butler, or “Butterfly.” The album—this was a few years ago—it was Black Up by Shabazz Palaces. It’s a fusion of experimental electronic music and hip hop, and it’s unlike anything else from that time. The new album proves to be more of the same—more of a lush astral electronic landscape with Ishmael Butler’s socially conscious rhymes.
Kayla: Awesome. You guys can check it out for yourself—it’s on our pre-order page, murfie.com/preorder.
A teaser from Lese Majesty:
Pre-order your copy of Lese Majesty on Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC.