Live Video: Shabazz Palaces

Live Video, Local Music
Jim Beckmann
photo by Dave Lichterman

Shabazz Palaces sound like no one else. Whether you call it "sci-fi", "way-out", "weirdo" or even "planetarium" rap, the Seattle duo's music might as well be in outer space considering how far off they sound from their contemporaries. But it's not like they don't want anyone else to follow. In its eighteen songs divided into seven "astral suites", their latest LP, Lese Majesty, calls out the pretenders on the throne, boldly declaring that the king doesn't just have no clothes but he's a liar and a thief ("leaning on suckers", Ishmael Butler says in his interview with Kevin Cole, "like Duckworth in the paint"). More than that, for Bulter and Tendai Maraire (a.k.a. Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy 'Dai), it's about "working, creating something... being about what you're doing". And clearly what they're doing is forging another mind-blowing set of experimental hip hop, and what you're doing right now is journeying with them to the far reaches as they perform four songs from Lese Majesty live in the KEXP studio:

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