Shabazz Palaces, 'Black Up' (Sub Pop)

Black Up
Critical Mass
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Label: Sub Pop

by Mosi Reeves

Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler once rhapsodized about jazz and Jimi in '90s boho-rap darlings Digable Planets. Now, as Palaceer Lazaro, leader of this mysterious Seattle collective, he espouses a more realist view, even reveling in ?extensive, effusive cran-berry-and-vodka seductions. He still enigmatically declares solidarity with the urban proletariat and critiques pop-culture clichés, but Black Up impresses most with its beguiling sounds, especially the verdant keyboard washes of "Are You...Can You...Were You? (Felt)" and the dread bass ticks of "Recollections of the Wraith."

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