Shabazz Palaces

Every time I bless a script it’s a precedent

Of the jiggy OGs I’m the President.”

Query: Who, or what, is Robed in Rareness?

The new Shabazz Palaces EP, first in a series, something like a SpaceX-Age Hustlers Convention for the time.

Background, please. Context. Approximate narrative style—keywords: myth, rare, jiggy.

Loading…Contains errors.

Go ahead.

It’s been a throuple lifetimes, like 14 scoops, since Earth first perceived the light beams of Shabazz Palaces. A solar fortnight since we witnessed one of the culture’s coldest reinventions to date. The forms may flicker depending on your dimensional positioning: Palaceer Lazaro, Butterfly, “the laser lord light rider Ish Boogie at your service.”

Ishmael Butler.


For the record, Mr. Butler, better than anybody of his generation standing, exemplifies an authentically integrated aesthetic link between the golden era and the now. Actual, lived in, but fresh and unerringly curious. The things rappers clamor for today are things he found at the start of his career, some three decades past, leaving him since free to freak his shit off with zero fear or desire of fitting in…after all, it behooves the hotly pursued to stay cool and lose followers.

And now?

Now in 2023, on their eighth go, Shabazz is icier than ever, pushing the limits of style and wit for the hottest days on record. Hydroplaning over molten asphalt on a cloud of arctic vapor, distilling a sparkling vintage too complex for amateur palates, it’s the Palaces. Built by hands divinely guided by practice-honed instinct—for the wonder and inspiration of generations coming behind.

Where’s he at?

He’s in his smooth phase; peep the vet maneuvering, as if to answer his younger self’s asking “slow down for what?” Precision and detail, a myth-map meant to elevate those for whom it’s meant. This is auteur rap for an artless era, from a director that’s epitomized slickness over 4 decades, forever original and unadulterated. That’s what type of time he’s on.

Robed in Rareness pushes the Black Constellation gang line while deepening the ranks and harkening back to the spare, icy menace of those first Shabazz EPs back in 2009. (Note: RIP SILK DOUGIE.)

Clarify: Black Constellation.

A collective of active makers and reality shapers pulled into orbit by the gravity of Shabazz’s formation. Check KEXP’s award-winning podcast Fresh off the Spaceship for more family values.

“All I wanna do is see the girls get a chance. All I wanna do is see the bros getting bands”

Community stays a key motif of Ish’s creative endeavors. Over the EP’s 25 minutes, he holds court alongside a cohort of chosen comrades, whether it’s Town favorites like Royce the Choice or his Stellie Porter Ray, his twin Lavarr the Starr, ice-cold Rockies rep O Finess, or longtime Geechi Suede. He even swings lanes with the one he calls his idol: his only son, the rising superstar Lil Tracy.

Any nigga fuck w me, he always earn

You don’t know by now I’m the Don?

You’ll never learn

Did you make money for your folks?

Or did you burn em’?

Gotta MFA in this game, nigga

Stay learning.”

Peep the pedigree of a forever-student OG, a 23rd Century Lightnin’ Rod hailing from 23rd Ave E, spitting gold-breaded game with pimpish disdain. Robed in Rareness, the newest brick in the Palace wall.

Let’s get it on.

Featured Videos

View all videos