Black Up by Shabazz Palaces

Not written in reference to Justin Trudeau's party antics but the 2011 debut from American rap duo Shabazz Palaces. The group features the vocals of Ishmael Butler formerly of Digable Planets alongside multi-instrumentalist Tendai "Baba" Maraire. Black Up was a lean and forward thinking hip-hop record which was notable for pushing boundaries forward rather than pander to the more nostalgic view of the genre that was more popular at the time. First ever hip-hop group on previously guitar-led label Sub Pop too.  

Vinyl LP £18.99 SP900

LP + download on Sub Pop.

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CD £8.49 SPCD900

CD on Sub Pop.

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Black Up by Shabazz Palaces
2 reviews. Write a review for us »
8/10 Li'l Biz 08 July 2011

It's Sub Pop week for Business Lady this week and damn, the label is barely recognizable as the same label that inspired my childhood interest in music. Saying that, they occasionally snap up a quality artist here and there with Shabazz Palaces being a good example of the diversification of the label over the years. In fact, I don't think they've ever signed a MC so this is a Sub Pop first! Don't know a huge amount about Shabazz Palaces but I'm liking his mutated take on hip-hop in 2011. Not entirely sure about his voice but his flow is unique and he's obviously no stranger to experimentation as he's constantly effecting and layering his vocal rhymes. The secret formula comes courtesy of producer Knife Knights whose laid back beats, varied production technique and strange melodic phrases make for a very enjoyable listen. There's elements of the classic staples of hip-hip, ie. soul, R&B and jazz, but there's also a healthy dose of mutant beats, skittering electronics, minimalist arrangements and generally out there sounds. It's hard to make direct comparisons but it definitely sits in a post-Anticon world of fantastical sound experimentation. It's gonna take a few listens before it makes any real sense to me but it's definitely an intriging listen full of surprises. Also worth mentioning the cool velvety CD jacket and the mad artwork and titles.

9/10 Vittorio Customer rating (no review), 20th October 2017



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