Shabazz Palaces @ KeuKeu


Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 20:00


Event Type: 

If Bedouins herded beats instead of goats and settled in Seattle instead of the Atlas Mountains, this (Black Up) would be their album." - Sub Pop
"If Shabazz Palaces continue at this rate they'll be unstoppable" -- NME
"Sub Pop's Hip-Hop bop is top cop." - The Independent 
[Black Up] Pitchfork Album Review Score 8.8 - Best New Music 
Shabazz Palaces emerged two years ago with an air of carefully cultivated mystery: Two EPs appeared, identified only by the Arabic patches on their covers. The music was some of the most exploratory hip-hop of the year, an enticing batch of fragmented raps and woozy, disorienting beats.
If Shabazz Palaces' first phase was about building a mystique, their Sub Pop debut is the product of opening up. Black Up lets some sunlight in, breathes fresh air, and finds Butler returning to an occasionally lighter flow, the most unburdened he's sounded since the world first heard him. Which is not to say that these are easy, uncomplicated songs. And if some of Butler's rhymes and sonics are breezier than before, his tracks still retain their moody, hard-thudding, and sometimes psychedelic atmospheres.
For all his recent (relative) forthrightness, Butler is still fascinated by art's ability to communicate what conversations cannot. "I can't explain it with words/ I have to do it," he raps on one song; on another, he delivers one of the album's catchiest, most motivating maxims: "If you talk about it, it's a show/ But if you move about it, then it's a go." Beyond the "just do it" swooshing of these lines is a meatier paradox: that Butler uses a lyrical form to decry the limitations of words and exalt the meaningfulness of action. In Shabazz Palaces, Butler enacts the union of these opposites-- words as action, action into words-- and it's no exaggeration to call this transmutation what it is: magic. -- Pitchfork