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Shabazz Palaces

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Shabazz Palaces are percussionist Tendai Maraire and Ishmael Butler, formerly of Digable Planets and Cherrywine. Working now under the moniker Palaceer Lazaro, Ishmael provides the group’s vision and vocals, while Tendai employs ancient instruments from his homeland Zimbabwe.

After releasing several recordings themselves on small time labels, in 2010 they contracted to release an ep with Sub Pop and have collaborated in recordings and on stage with artists such as mc Silk, and THEESatisfaction. They deliver sincere and radical lyrics with sounds and beats that include sounds from around the world. Containing echos of , minor-key , London and sounds they structure their songs outside the 16-bars/chorus/repeat form of much hip hop.Their music won them the first ever Music Genius award from The Stranger in 2010.

The group which also features mixing engineer Erik Blood, often dress in elaborate costumes and masks for their live performances.


For Butler, who never stopped making music since he released his classic album by Digable Planets , ‘’Blowout Comb’‘, Shabazz palaces is his latest place to play with ideas. Those ideas have always been simultaneously global in their expansiveness and basement ceiling low in their commitment to hip-hop’s bottom line.


Their video for Belhaven Meridian is a one-shot bw music video, shot in Watts, LA, homage to the 1977 classic film Killer of Sheep, a film set around the Watts Riots. It features a cameo by Ernest Wadell from The Wire.

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  • optimistic_tour

    After listening to the legit release on good headphones, I see this shout from a while ago "but it is kinda lacking in the "umph" factor." -- try the real deal, I think I found the umph!!! I knew this would hit harder but damn..

    4 hours ago Reply
  • da-ICEMAN

    FLAC/320 kbps is out

    5 hours ago Reply
  • chewtoy

    Damn... Lese Majesty is real fine.

    24 Jul 2:03pm Reply
  • Lonertunes

    Lese Majesty is one of the best album of 2014.

    24 Jul 10:44am Reply
  • optimistic_tour

    okay, the NPR stream is definitely higher quality. I'm hearing new things in this and loving it!!

    22 Jul 5:03pm Reply
  • optimistic_tour

    The real thing?? I didn't get my email!

    22 Jul 1:50pm Reply
  • Yuukman

    I liked the leak a lot but the gaps and the not-so-great quality were really holding the album back. Now, listening to the real thing, I just fucking love it. It's incredible, I don't know what much else to say. AOTY, GOAT, all the things. Lese Majesty is really unique and amazing. Now excuse me, I have to go back listening to this masterpiece

    22 Jul 8:12am Reply
  • amenstrange

    http://www.npr.org/2014/07/20/331345354/first-listen-shabazz-palaces-lese-majesty

    21 Jul 7:19pm Reply
  • Illest_Villain

    damn i think this is AOTY

    19 Jul 4:50pm Reply
  • GagaZaynLover

    Black Up is one of the most original, bracing albums. [2] Glad i found them.

    19 Jul 12:05am Reply
  • optimistic_tour

    Black Up is one of the most original, bracing albums of the past decade. It's got this energy and jumbled puzzle sound that I get lost in. Lese Majesty in contrast feels like a mystery that I want to LIVE in. God, I can't wait to hear the real thing.

    16 Jul 3:43pm Reply
  • Skanking_Skippy

    "Lese Majesty doesn't quite touch Black Up, but will anything?" x2 - I mean I hear ya, but Shabazz hasn't disappointed with the new release; its smooth, produced extremely well, but it is kinda lacking in the "umph" factor. What I mean is that there isn't as many moments on Lese Majesty that really stand out. The songs don't have a traditional structure (not a bad thing), but they clearly were going for the continuous one-long-song feel, I just wish the tracks didn't blend together so much, only a grip of songs stand out. Overall, - with arbitrary and opinion-based ratings aside - Shabazz is miles ahead of most other hip hop artists and redefine the genre with every release, including Lese Majesty.

    14 Jul 5:54pm Reply
  • playgr0undtwist

    Lese Majesty doesn't quite touch Black Up, but will anything? It's the most celestial hip-hop album I've heard since 2011 anyway.

    14 Jul 2:06pm Reply
  • Illest_Villain

    i like the new album but damn it's too hazy

    13 Jul 7:01am Reply
  • optimistic_tour

    HNNNNNG [2]

    11 Jul 4:26am Reply
  • tokyochorus

    my favorite color- brown with pink

    9 Jul 6:36am Reply
  • optimistic_tour

    That whatcd version is a fail, because they left tiny gaps between tracks.. had to go back to my 128k rip. *shrug* soon we'll have the real deal!

    8 Jul 1:13pm Reply
  • For3st_Gosp3l

    nvm i found one on what.cd

    7 Jul 11:14pm Reply
  • J-u-l-i-a

    beautiful new album thank you based shabazz palaces [2]

    7 Jul 9:08pm Reply
  • mrmocha

    I'm having my cake and I'm eating cake!

    7 Jul 4:50pm Reply
  • All 684 shouts