Friday, October 28, 2011

soaked in sex n bathed in light

lazaro surprises the fans at the sbtrkt show last night in seattle to sprinkle some shabazz flavour on the place for the last song "wildflower". wow... imagine being in the seattle crowd and getting a surprise like that, that's beautiful

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


grimes - oblivion (off her upcoming 3rd album 'visions')

grimes is a genius. i love the android singing that comes in at 2:30... fun fact: she makes everything on garageband...!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

weekend ~ all-american

lazaro has been biggin up this band, and this song especially, in interviews. as intense to shabazz' sound. nothin hits the spot like this when you're in the right state

Friday, October 21, 2011

gold n brown

when i listen to this i understand the meaning of the lyrics to 'the king new clothes were made by his own hands'.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

interview: stars align

(preying mantra by wangenchi mutu)

interview by dream hampton on can't wait to check out those books

Shabazz Palaces is Tendai Maraire and Ishmael Butler. The former employs ancient instruments from his homeland Zimbabwe while Butler provides the group’s vision and vocals. Their album Black Up is arguably the best reviewed album of the year. For Butler, who never stopped making music since he released his classic album by Digable Planets, Blowout Comb, Shabazz palaces is his latest place to play with ideas. Those ideas have always been simultaneously global in their expansiveness and basement ceiling low in their commitment to hip-hop’s bottom line. Here we talk to Butler about what he likes to hear and wear.

Life+Times: What’s the best thing in your closet?
Shabazz Palaces: White cordoury coat. 3/4 length. Vintage. Pimpish.

L+T: What’s your favorite character from City of God? What scene made him so?
SP: Benny at the party when he was telling Little Ze he was leaving and he was like “Dude I’m about to smoke, read and listen to rock’ is one.” But the best scene in the whole movie was when the little kid got shot in the foot. I felt that. Like, my foot hurt.

L+T: Name three books that permanently shaped your thinking.
SP: [Ben Orki's] The Famished Road, [Octavia E. Butler's] Wild Seed, [Richard K. Morgan's] Altered Carbon.

L+T: Tell me about the high school music teacher you had who taught you about jazz.
SP: Wadey Earving in Meaney Middle School was the man who taught me how to play saxophone. He was a very regal and elegant cat. Attentive and smart. My mom liked him. The kids dug him, he was patient and firm. He wore a suit everyday, a nice one too.

L+T: What’s special about Seattle?
SP: Thee Satisfaction and OCNOTES are really doing revolutionary things. OCNOTES is really walking on the outer reaches of music. These kids are kids of frontiersman, people who read a flyer and moved to a city in the 50s where no black people were. So we all innately have that explorer spirit. When Seattle kids go to other places like New York other people know and like them. Then there’s Punctuation, run by Maikoyo Alley-Barnes who’s making good shit and curating monthly art shows for local artists and providing a space where he’s designing functional and socialwear that’s well made and well designed. His spot is an epicenter for all of us.

L+T: He made those African inspired masks you wore when you played the Natural Museum of History last year, yes? Tell me what masking means to you.
SP: Yes…we talked about doing some theatrical and african stuff for the shows. He executed them and we wore them for the Stranger show too. Masking. It’s an understanding that when you’re given creative thoughts you know that it’s not all you. The mask is an extension or an indication that you’re representing something other than yourself.

L+T: Eric Dolphy pioneered what came to be known as “free jazz”. I know it’s not your term, but what frees music? And if you’ve ever found yourself feeling confined in any way musically, how’d you rediscover your musical freedom?
SP: Early on I wanted to be like Q Tip. When I came to hip-hop everything was constructed with 16 bars and a hook. I think at first you have to be involved in following in the footsteps of someone’s who’s done it. So you learn how it’s “supposed” to be done and you do that til you feel free enough in the foundation to depart from it. Going from your instinct to the finished product. After I learned how to follow the rules I abandoned them.

L+T: Artists Mikalene Thomas and Wangenchi Mutu, who you shout out on this album are favorites of yours, how do they influence you?
SP: That’s a good question cuz most people ask other musicians which musicians influence them. They both do sampling, pattern on pattern, color, texture, layering, title…like the text in Mutu’s work, or even how she approaches naming are all things I’m absorbing.

L+T: On the first album you did a lot to obscure of obfuscate your identity. On this album you relaxed.
SP: It was never about being an MF Doom or being mysterious or even anonymous. I just wanted to start fresh from Digable. Plus journalists are just wack they just ask the same mundane questions, they claim to be observationists but most of them are lazy. So I wanted to limit the extent that I participated in that whole dance, at least for the beginning, the first album. This is the second Shabazz Palaces album, and doing it this way felt right for this album.

new song

love this more melodic soulful direction

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


a magnificent project; ishmaelites blog will do its bit to support.

Monday, October 3, 2011

palaceer lazaro freestylin for berliners - allahu akbar

damn i wish they'd release a studio version of "allahu akbar"

the king's new clothes were made by his own hands *remix*

thanks to yours truly and gorilla vs bear i know you've all heard this by now. it's been on repeat round my neck of the woods for a while. ish and tendai remix black up's tribute to the elusive perfect beat. an ishmaelite saw them perform this beat in new york but with completely different lyrics in celebration of the apple. tendai is perfect on this. so much poise

say the producers:

"Somewhere in Dallas, surrounded on all sides by the deep-fryer-high heat, Chris and I picked Ish, Tendai and Jon up at a beaten down Best Western a few miles from Tomcast Studios. There were too many of us to ride legally in Chris’ SUV, so Tendai stuffed himself into the trunk beneath brick-filled suitcases and bulky stage equipment. Ish looked like a retired running back, a white gym towel draped over his head sopping up beads of sweat like a squeegee. Inside the car Ish didn’t say a word. He took a hundred yard stare, gripped his hands on the “oh shit handle,” and sat motionless, frozen. He had the look of a boxer on the scale, or a pitcher on his way to the mound — not lookin’ atcha, lookin’ past ya.

It wasn’t until after they nailed the take you see in the video above that the plates in Ish’s face parted, and the kid in him jumped off the front porch and sprinted into the street to play. He and Tendai high-fived, the teeth in their smile happy to see and be seen again.

The focus on the faces of Ish and Tendai as they prepped themselves to create that day remind me that creativity is a gift, shaping it into something special is a blessing, and the determination it takes to do so is rare. No one is more grateful to share in the act of creativity than yours truly, and every single session reminds me that I’m lucky."

Sunday, October 2, 2011


art by leif podhajsky

new interview with The Prague Post... shabazz palaces are in now in the baroque capital of the czech republic.