Friday, May 6, 2011

Shabazz Palaces channel Elijah Muhammad, Black Dice

Gorilla Vs Bear & PopGun Booking present:
Shabazz Palaces, Thee Satisfaction and more
Thursday, May 12, 2011
7:30 PM 18+

For all those who feared that psychedelia in hip-hop would result in a whitewash, Shabazz Palaces is the answer, a meshing of laptop trickery, live instrumentation, and rap that has been vetted by the underground over decades. Ishmael "Palaceer Lazaro" Butler, formerly "Butterfly" of Digable Planets, leads the collective, with cohorts Baba Maraire from Zimbabwe and Silk (aka Dougie). Their name is derived from Nation of Islam scriptures, and accordingly their agile and intricate rap lyrics have a pro-black bent, mixed in with abstract poetry that nods to Busdriver and Aesop Rock. Their production is bizarre, heavily effected, and eclectic by way of incorporating things like Indonesian gamelan and American soul. In 2009 they did a dual release of their Of Light/Shabazz Palaces, which won blanket praise. Three Imaginary Girls summed it up, "Both are essential purchases for those who remember exactly when hip-hop took over rock's legacy in universal pop art; and for those longing for a new chronicle based on the faithful elements of that genre." Their third album Black Up is slated for release June 28.

With so much needless machismo infesting the ranks of hip-hop, many feel like a lot of talent has gone to waste, its transcendental potential stifled. The ladies in THEESatisfaction are the answer to this disappointment. Rather than tacking on superfluous gimmicks onto hip-hop's elements, they turn these techniques inward, manifesting the bizarre, psychedelic and polyrhythmic structures hinted at by RZA and J Dilla. Vocally, Lauryn Hill is recalled, with layered rhyme schemes and a smooth vocal tone that deliberately weaves in and out of the frenetic samples. Keep an eye on these two stoner chicks and an ear on their refreshingly strange sounds.

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