Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekly Artist Profile: Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces is the new project from former Digable Planets MC Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler and after releasing two EPs in 2010, he’s back with his debut full length, Black Up. While it’s a hip-hop album at its core, this album blows right through boundaries, experimenting with different genres, sounds and flows, often all within the same song. This is dangerous as the artists sacrifice the coherency of the song and run the risk of sounding like a mumbling drunk on pain pills. But despite all the experimentation, Black Up flows perfectly and retains a sense of mystery; you never know what’s going to happen next.

Joey D said to me the other day “this is the future hip-hop.” While I really can’t imagine hip-hop ever going in this direction, this is the first time in my life that I really hope I’m wrong.

I also have to give a big shout out to KEXP radio in Seattle. They are undeniably the best radio station in the United States and I've been completely obsessed with their live studio performances. After the jump check out Shabazz Palaces' in studio performance for KEXP as well as the allegorical short film for their Self Titled EP.

For the entire Shabazz Palaces KEXP performance click here.

A Brief Intermission's staff (Joey and I at least) will hopefully be catching Shabazz Palaces this weekend at Pitchfork Music Festival. If you're attending the festival, do your best to check out their set.


  1. Love it. Can't wait to see them at the fest. I just love how they're doing something new and creative in a genre that really needed it. I love hip hop, but I think the lack of creativity is the reason I'm never overly excited about new releases coming out. Hopefully more artists will start to use more experimental beats and hooks like shabazz has here and really progress the genre of hip hop. Great write up man.

  2. My mind has changed after the Lincoln Hall show. God, what a great weekend full of music.