To hear Shabazz Palaces is to question the meaning of genre. These dudes push the boundaries of music one mind-expanding gig at a time. While their acclaimed album ‘Black Up’ (streamable in full after the jump) is a complete trip through psychadelic hip hop, their shows are something even more next level. Like Outkast on LSD… in space.
After months of vibing to the album, I finally checked them live this Tuesday. The Seattle duo, comprised of Ishmael Butler aka ‘Palaceer Lazaro’, who old skoolers might recognize as ‘Butterfly’ from Digable Planets, and Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire, rocked Lee’s Palace and I, like everyone in the house, got lost in the bass-heavy, near-tribal wave of sound. Shabazz Palaces led the ecclectic crowd on a sonic journey that, for more than a few, was accompanied by a (good) acid trip… or at least some good weed.
Weaving together hip hop, electronic, funk, jazz, african tribalism, and whatever else, the two play off eachother on stage, trading off chants, instruments, experimenting with live sampling, and incorporating more than a few motown-esque choreographed moves. It almost eludes description… yes, it’s as trippy as it sounds.
All I can say is, if you get the chance, definitely catch these guys live. Show up with an open mind and prepare to have it blown even wider open. In the meantime, wait till nighttime, spark some good stuff, and stream the album in full.
*Special shout-out to the homies Abstract Random (from 88 Days) who scored an opening slot for these guys and (though I missed it) killed their set, from what I hear**