Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

January 01, 1970

(Sub Pop)


Over the course of his near twenty years in the game,
Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler
has never fronted on his will to be weird. But nothing the Seattle-based wordsmith
has accomplished with either Digable Planets or his electro-funk group
Cherrywine comes close to the full-blown foray into astral traveling he reaches
with his latest endeavor Shabazz Palaces. After a pair of enigmatic EPs in
2010, Butler
makes history as the first proper hip-hop act signed to Sub Pop (unless, of
course, you count the label’s late ‘90s act The Evil Tambourines). And there is
definitely no confusing the ten tracks that comprise Black Up with anything else in the Seattle indie’s canon, that’s for damn sure. Atop
a strange and soulful hybrid of analog bass thump, echo-drenched samples and
chopped-and-screwed dubstep riddims, Butler time warps between the planes of
crunk and classic rap with an avant-gangsta swagger suggests what Lil’ Wayne
might sound like if he was on some John Cage shit.


Tracks like “An Echo from the Hosts that Profess
Infinitum”, “Youlogy” and “Reflections of the Wraith” might
not be the kind of stuff that will land Ish on Funkmaster Flex’s Countdown, nor
does it compare to the quirky cool of the Digables’ 1995 sleeper masterpiece Blowout Comb. But any adventurous soul
with both Drake and Sun Ra back to back on his or her iPod will most certainly
be able to get down with this truly unique hip-hop experience.


DOWNLOAD: “Free Press and Curl”, “An Echo from the Hosts that Profess
Infinitum”, “Youlogy”, “Reflections of the Wraith” RON HART


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