In Print: Shabazz Palaces Lets Its Idiosyncratic Hip-Hop Do the Talking

Categories: In Print

From SF Weekly's latest print music section:

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Yeah, don't expect to see their faces unless you go to the show.
Shabazz Palaces: If there's one thing we're supposed to know about Shabazz Palaces, it's that we're not supposed to know shit. In the two years since recordings by the Seattle-based hip-hop act of that name have surfaced to effusive praise, Palaces' MC, producer, and mastermind Palaceer Lazaro (aka Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler of the Grammy-winning alt-hip-hop mavens Digable Planets) has steadfastly avoided elaborating on what makes the project tick. He dodged interviews for a spell, relenting only for Pitchfork, but his noncommittal answers created only more questions. In a sterling example of this approach, Butler spoke of the project as "we," but refused to name his partners. The article produced few lessons, namely that the group members aren't into the concept of interviews, they want to earn their fans slowly, they're independent, and this whole mysterious angle isn't a conscious thing. "It's just that we've got a different set of beliefs, experiences, and desires in terms of what success is," Butler said, keeping things as vague as ever.

He has done other interviews that yield only scraps. When The Stranger asked when Shabazz Palaces began -- as innocuous as queries get -- Butler responded, "Why?" We've heard of the importance of artists making themselves available to the media, but Palaces' hype proves that puzzles and smoke work, too, if they're teamed with compelling music ... continue reading

Also, we recommend shows from Aesop Rock and Young Widows.

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