“Black Up’s production is stark and uneasy; tinged with jazz, but coloured principally by the dystopian corners of urban bass music. And once it gets hold of you, it doesn’t let go”
Shabazz Palaces is a Seattle-based experimental hip hop collective led by Ishmael Butler (aka Palaceer Lazaro) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire. They anonymously self-released two EPs ‘Shabazz Palaces’ and ‘Of Light’, in 2009 before becoming one of the few hip-hop acts to be signed to the Sub Pop label and releasing their debut full-length album ‘Black Up’ to wide critical acclaim in 2011.
“Like rich velvet hijabs or gold threaded abayas. Luxury as understood by the modest. Shabazz Palaces. If Bedouins herded beats instead of goats and settled in Seattle instead of the Atlas Mountains, this would be their album. Forward thinkers but nostalgic for a sparer time when ancient astronomers only recognized five planets. Hip hop. Black light uses electromagnetic radiation to eradicate microorganisms, but shabazz didn’t come to kill a sound, just to shine their own incandescent lamp on this. Hear. Hard and clear. Fifty thousand years in the making. Honorable.” – Palaceer