Brooklyn hip-hop experimentalists Shabazz Palaces have shared both of their upcoming concept albums, Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines, ahead of their official release date on July 14. Group leader Ishmael ‘Butterfly’ Butler, formerly of Digable Planets, has constructed an elaborate, stylistically chameleonic two-album epic revolving around the character of Quazarz, an extraterrestrial musical savior from the depths of outer space, who visits a fictionalized version of modern America when it is embroiled in an age in which, as Reed describes it in a statement, “brutality and alt facts and death masquerad[e] as connectivity.”
The features on the albums mostly come from underground rappers and singers that move in Shabazz’s close circles; the most high-profile appearance comes from Thundercat, who contributes his trademark bass noodling to the previously released “Since C.A.Y.A.” You can listen to the first part, Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star, here, and then follow up with Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines here. Sample tracks from both albums below.