Saturday, February 27, 2010

We Only Pursue That Which Destroys

Dividing an artist's career into distinct stages is useful only in so far as it helps us get a grip on what can be a bewilderingly wide spectrum of work. Based on his four artistic personae then, we could view Ish's output as falling under these four phases: Digable Planets, Ishmael, Cherrywine, and Shabazz Palaces. Today's entry covers all of the above.

Firstly, a classic clip (1992?) of Digable performing Rebirth of Slick on In Living Color.

Secondly, a rare and insightful commentary and dialogue by Mtume ya Salaam and Kalamu ya Salaam on Cherrywine and how that particular persona allowed Ish to be as 'political' as ever while distancing himself from the usual political discourse. This is from back in 2005; refreshing to see that someone actually got it! Strictly speaking, Salaam's argument also covers the second phase as his argument draws upon 16th minute, a song from that unreleased 'holy grail', Ishmael Since 1999.

Finally, some Shabazz for you! Andrew Matson was fortunate enough to interview Ish before his debut show, although the end product features less of the interviewee's thoughts than the interviewer's. Telling us of Lazaro's speaking in 'philosophical abstractions about his creative process' and failing to quote him is tantalising to the point of cruelty! Somewhat more satisfyingly, Larry Mizell Jr weighs in with a muscular commentary on Seattle's hip-hop royalty. And a little more here. Finally, here are some photos from the show thanks to Joey Baltimore:

I have to apologise for the lack of updates. I've now realised that I simply won't be able to produce any of my own commentary/essays on Shabazz Palaces until I complete my studies this summer, so until then I hope to continue linking to other good stuff, insha Allah.

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