Introducing: Shabazz Palaces

There is nothing I love more than cake and when someone raps about it, well what can I say? Even if they’re talking about a different sort of cake, I’ll remain oblivious. From the sleepy seaside town of Seattle, Shabazz Palaces, otherwise known as the two members, Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire have been producing alternative hip hop and experimental rap since 2009.

Shab Palaces

They like cake and you’ll be damned if you don’t think it’s tasty. Shabazz Palaces are the dynamic hip hop duo ready to push the boundaries and defy expectations.

During the early period of their musical career, the duo anonymously self-released two EPs named Eagles Soar, Oil Flows and The Seven New (often just referred to as Shabazz Palaces) and Of Light. The busy boys then gained a following which lead to their debut full length album, Black Up, reaching wide critical acclaim which represented diverse and home grown hip hop, making people of Seattle proud.

Like most normal people, Shabazz Palaces like to talk food, but they take their food inspiration to the next level with single, Ham Sandwich which sums up the group’s own brand of modern hip hop. Their sound is similar to Heems from Das Racist aka Himanshu Suri and his own mixtapes, such as Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom.

Their giant second album, Lese Majesty was recorded over two years and finally released in July of last year. Lese Majesty includes contributions from THEESatisfaction’s Catherine Harris-White, Erik Blood and Thadillac. Pitchfork gave the album an 8.2 out of 10, The Rolling Stone gave the album three and a half stars and AllMusic four and a half. With an overall rating of 81 out of 100, it’s an understatement to say that this album is versatile and appealing to those who might not be completely into the hip hop genre.

Enough about the ratings, this album is playful and universal with clear beat and bold and witty lyrics. The album is competition for other budding hip hop artists, but also a credit to the scene and showcases the way in which the genre requires the ability to cleverly craft sound and tie together words.

I would be lying if I didn’t say my favourite track wasn’t #CAKE. The same man who directed Earl Sweatshirt with Hive and Chum also directed #Cake by Shabazz Palaces. Watch this space.

On the 9th of January, Shabazz Palaces announced that he will record a live direct- to-acetate LP at Jack White’s Third Man Studios on January 17. Everything is coming up, Shabazz Palaces.



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