News for Shabazz Palaces

NEWS : FRI, MAY 8, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Watch Shabazz Palaces “Thanking The Girls” lyric video from ‘The Don of Diamond Dreams’ premiering via Essence Magazine

Plus - NPR Morning Edition Interview.

Shabazz Palaces has delivered a thoughtful new lyric video for “Thanking The Girls,” a highlight from The Don of Diamond Dreams, his acclaimed new album out now on Sub Pop.



The visual is directed by Josh Sessoms, a contemporary artist focusing on figures that encapsulate the mystery, dynamism and poetic nature of the African and Caribbean diasporas. Exemplification of grace, dignity, love, and power is a starting point from which he begins his artistic musings.  Sessoms says of the video, “There is an ongoing spiritual connection among the characters which is being fortified by the full moon. Ishmael’s lyrics and vocal performance inspired a kaleidoscopic explosion of ideas. I immediately heard a palpable sense of compassion and ardor in his voice. I sense that Ishmael wants this song to be an eternal gift and a perpetual gesture of appreciation to loved ones (both near and far); those of the present moment, of yesteryear and of future generations.”

The visual saw its premiere today via Essence Magazine, who offered this, “Brimming bright with a dedication to the women in Ish’s life, ‘Thanking The Girls’ is a wonderful tribute that proves that this slick-talking, experimental rap bohemian is still a real G that should be protected at all costs (see “Playlist” premiere May 8th, 2020).”

Shabazz Palaces was also the subject of a recent interview with Frannie Kelly for NPR’s Morning Edition, where he discussed the new album, and how “musical innovation is a family legacy (see May 5th interview).”


The Don of Diamond Dreams is available worldwide from Sub Pop.

The Don of Diamond Dreams, which includes the aforementioned “Thanking The Girls,”  “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate), Chocolate Souffle, “Wet,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss),” features contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, percussionist Carlos Niño, Knife Knights collaborator OCnotes, saxophonist Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes.

The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood with mixing assistance from Andy Kravitz at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.


NEWS : FRI, APR 17, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Shabazz Palaces ‘The Don of Diamond Dreams’ is now available everywhere from Sub Pop

Time to watch/stream the slow-burning visualizer for track “Wet + full album, The Don of Diamond Dreams.

Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams is out now worldwide on Sub Pop. Stream it on repeat here now.

The 10-track album, which includes the highlights “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate), Chocolate Souffle, “Wet,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss),” and “Thanking The Girls,” features contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, percussionist Carlos Niño, Knife Knights collaborator OCnotes, saxophonist Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes.
 
The New Yorker says of the album, “[Shabazz Palaces’] spontaneity and irreverence for rap conventions feel particularly urgent; these experiments are malleable and resistant to form at a time when declarative statements on the current era seem futile. Instead, the group continues bludgeoning musical complacency with songs as equivocal as inkblot tests. “This is high art / I tear the form apart,” Butler raps on “Chocolate Souffle.” He engages in a conversation—albeit an ambiguous one—with contemporary hip-hop on “Wet,” and dives headlong into a puddle of free jazz on “Reg Walks by the Looking Glass.” But the surprise is the uncharacteristically concrete “Thanking the Girls”—an ode to Butler’s daughters that unfolds over a static-filled, beautifully off-kilter.”
 
The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood with mixing assistance from Andy Kravitz at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.


 
Purchases of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP orders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows). 


Meanwhile, fans who purchase LP through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last).  There will also be a new T-shirt design available.

[Visualizer by Olde Nightrifter]
 
What people are saying about Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams:
The Don of Diamond Dreams finds Butler’s effects-treated voice rippling through a prism of mutated funk and R&B that feels simultaneously sumptuous and deeply unconventional.” [8/10] UNCUT
 
“How many acts release five albums and how many out of that are still as current and relevant as on their debut? Not many. Shabazz Palaces have now joined a rare breed of artists. The Don Of Diamond Dreams is a glorious album that yields more and more with each listen. And listen you need to, because if you don’t you might miss something.” [8/10] - CLASH
 
The Don of Diamond Dreams is the most fully realized Shabazz Palaces LP yet—from Butler’s new confidence in his own poetic authority to the way he and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire create hip-hop songs that never stop experimenting.”  [“Album of the Day”] - Bandcamp
 
“Through this long journey through different states of consciousness and emotion, Shabazz Palaces continue to serve as the intrepid explorers through the eternal form known as music. The don of diamond dreams and gold stitched jeans continues to shine his light on the path for all of us to follow.” - KEXP
 
The Don of Diamond Dreams is a brilliant, buoyant work of provocation and invocation from the rapper-writer-producer. Holy, wise, abstract, and contagious, Don is intergalactic hip-hop that burrows as deep down as it does fly high.” - FLOOD Magazine
 
The Don of Diamond Dreams prove Shabazz Palaces to be such a fascinating and exciting project in the age of algorithms and formulae.” [“Album of the Week”] The Guardian
 
“One of contemporary hip hop’s original outsiders” [★★★★] - Q
 
The Don of Diamond Dreams…feels warmer and more optimistic…[It] feels imbued with a sense that alternative realities – different ways of telling stories, different mythologies to reflect our true nature – are always within our reach, if only we’re able to fully embrace our own imaginations.” - The Quietus
 
“Shabazz Palaces have created another exquisite album”  - DJ Mag
 
“Expanding beyond their already broadened horizons, Shabazz Palaces are seemingly unstoppable.” [8/10] - The Line of Best Fit
 
“On the 10 track project, the Seattle artists continue to showcase their technologically-intertwined take on the experimental realms of rap and hip-hop, spicing up their Afrofuturist aesthetic with melty basslines, eclectic percussion, psychedelic synth pads, and more.” - Hypebeast
 
“The 10-track project is another futuristic ride through Butler’s otherworldly mind.” - HipHopDX
 
“Shabazz are at their best when they channel all their ambition into a more tightly-packed album like this one.” [“Notable Releases of the Week”] - Brooklyn Vegan
 
“[Shabazz Palaces] remain immersed in surrealism, but their atmospheric oddity ends up a splendid fit for today’s hip-hop landscape.” -  RIFF Magazine
 
“The Don’s way of pulling you in is to hypnotize you with far-out jazz pageantry and devotion before cutting you loose to wander through the brilliant, idiosyncratic landscapes they created – and they make it look effortless while doing it.” [★★★★] - Spectrum Culture
 
Diamond Dreams is immersive and solidifies Shabazz Palaces’ stature as one of the few hip-hop projects to emerge in the 2010s and create a wholly distinctive genre unto itself. Its intergalactic textures don’t resemble earth, but that’s a welcome escape at a historic moment when earth doesn’t feel particularly inhabitable for humans.” [The Don of Diamond Dreams]  - PASTE
 
“It’s a psychedelic groove, chopped and screwed in the fifth dimension.” [“Fast Learner”] -  The FADER
 
“A woozy and echo-laden lurch that the group recorded with the excellently named Purple Tape Nate…It’s a cool piece of music, a starry-eyed vibe-out, and it’s a strong indicator for how the rest of the album might sound…The track draws stylistic connections between rumbling ’80s electro, broken-up Brainfeeder beat music, and circa-now astral Auto-Tuned drug rap.” [“Fast Learner”] - Stereogum
 
“Play this loud, really loud. The wooziness really starts to glow with the volume turned way up on headphones or big speakers. It’s great retrofuture background music, good for speeding down the highway in a DeLorean or selling drugs to a fax machine.” [“Fast Learner”] - Washington Square News
 
“The brilliantly abstract Seattle rap duo returns, with a deep bass intro that spaces out into a more expansive track as Nate’s Auto-Tune support vocals waft astrally, and a simple backbone of a hook threading it all together.” [“Fast Learner”] - City Pages
 
“With tinges of funk engrained in their intergalactic production, Ishmael Butler vocals stretch through space with a robotic feel.” [“Chocolate Souffle”] - Hot New Hip Hop
 
“[Shabazz Palaces] have managed to continue Butler’s relentless desire to reimagine what hip hop should and could sound like while boldly proving that they’re the heirs to the astral imaginations of Sun Ra, George Clinton, Octavia Butler and Alice Coltrane.” - Joy of Violent Movement


NEWS : WED, MAR 25, 2020 at 6:59 AM

Shabazz Palaces shares “Chocolate Souffle” official video from ‘The Don of Diamond Dreams’

“Chocolate Souffle” is a scorching, electrofunk standout and the second official video from Shabazz Palaces‘ The Don of Diamond Dreams, directed by David Shields and James Nugent (Marshawn Lynch: A History).  The performative visual stars Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler amid a dizzying array of images set to match the songs rapid-fire lyrics, and was compiled by Shields, Nugent, and Butler (who acts as the video’s director of photography). 


 
Recently, Butler sat down with his son Lil Tracy while in Los Angeles for Interview Magazine, where they discussed their lives, their music, and more (read the interview here).


Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams will be available April 17th, 2020 worldwide on Sub Pop. The album is now available for preorder from Sub Pop over here. Preorders of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP preorders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows). 



Meanwhile, LP preorders through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last).  There will also be a new T-shirt design available.


NEWS : TUE, MAR 10, 2020 at 6:57 AM

Watch Shabazz Palaces’ official video for “Fast Learner” from forthcoming LP ‘The Don of Diamond Dreams’

On the star-drenched streets of the Quartz City, the Dancer and the Don float the red beamer towards the diamondest dreams ever known in Shabazz Palaces new video for “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate),” the lead single from his forthcoming album, The Don of Diamond Dreams. The visual from director Stephan Gray (“Dawn In Luxor,” “Deesse Du Sang”) stars Ishmael Butler and Umaara Elliott, a New York-based professional dancer and an activist (a co-organizer of “Millions March NYC”).


 
Released earlier this month, the “Fast Learner” single saw praise from the likes of Hip Hop DX, who called the track “another futuristic trip.” The FADER concurred, offering this, “It’s a psychedelic groove, chopped and screwed in the fifth dimension.” Meanwhile, Hypebeast had this to say, “a perfect reintroduction to the duo’s Afrofuturistic groove — hazy lo-fi electronica mashes alongside funky instrumentation, allowing for both Ishmael and Nate to rap out their lyrical abstractions.” And Stereogum says, “A woozy and echo-laden lurch that the group recorded with the excellently named Purple Tape Nate…It’s a cool piece of music, a starry-eyed vibe-out, and it’s a strong indicator for how the rest of the album might sound…The track draws stylistic connections between rumbling ’80s electro, broken-up Brainfeeder beat music, and circa-now astral Auto-Tuned drug rap.”
 
Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams will be available April 17th, 2020 worldwide on Sub Pop. The 10-track album includes the highlights features “Chocolate Souffle,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss),” “Thanking The Girls,” and the aforementioned “Fast Learner,” with additional contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, percussionist Carlos Niño, Knife Knights collaborator OCnotes, saxophonist Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes.


 
The Don of Diamond Dreams is now available for preorder from Sub Pop. Preorders of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP preorders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows). Meanwhile, LP preorders through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last).  There will also be a new T-shirt design available.


NEWS : WED, FEB 26, 2020 at 6:57 AM

New Shabazz Palaces ‘The Don of Diamond Dreams’ available worldwide April 17th - Stream lead track “Fast Learner (Ft. Purple Tape Nate)”

Shabazz Palaces new full-length The Don of Diamond Dreams will be available April 17th, 2020 worldwide on Sub Pop. The 10-track album includes the highlights “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate),” “Chocolate Souffle,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss),” and “Thanking The Girls,” with additional contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, percussionist Carlos Niño, Knife Knights collaborator OCnotes, saxophonist Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes.

Stream the lead track “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate)” here now.

Shabazz Palaces will tour extensively in 2020 in support of The Don of Diamond Dreams. Live dates will be announced soon.

The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood with mixing assistance from Andy Kravitz at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.


 
The Don of Diamond Dreams is now available for preorder from Sub Pop.
 
Preorders of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP preorders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows).


[Pictured above: The Mushroom zine]

Meanwhile, LP preorders through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last).  There will also be a new T-shirt design available.


Shabazz Palaces
The Don of Diamond Dreams
Tracklisting:
1. Portal North: Panthera
2. Ad Ventures
3. Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate)
4. Wet
5. Chocolate Souffle
6. Portal South: Micah
7. Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss)
8. Money Yoga (ft. Darrius)
9. Thanking The Girls
10. Reg Walks By The Looking Glass (ft. Carlos Overall)


[Photo Credit: Patrick O’Brien-Smith]

About Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams:
Cruise the city in a night ship, dressed to kill in the Seville. Float down waterfalls and fountains, reclined on some pimp shit. The time zone ghost returns to paint a picture that echoes through infinity. The sun is put to rest, the soliloquy is killer bee. A diamond purpose lying beneath the surface. Nothing is ever what it seems, but forever is the theme. It’s time. Shabazz Palaces are back with yet another classic of divine mathematics design. More dazzling Afrofuturist sutras to illuminate distant constellations with sacred abstractions. Enter The Don of Diamond Dreams, raw and uncut, but glowing with 10,000 karat shine.
 
If you adhere to the corporeal limitations of space and chronology, it’s been roughly a decade since Shabazz Palaces first shook the ramparts with their debut stylistic revolution, Black Up – which Pitchfork named as one of the Best of the 2010s, hailing it as an “album of impossible vision.” But the project masterminded by vocalist and producer Ishmael Butler has never conformed to gravitational consideration or terrestrial measurement. They are heirs to the astral imagination of Sun Ra and George Clinton, Octavia Butler and Alice Coltrane. If they technically claim residence in Seattle, their sound emanates much closer to Alpha Centauri than Alki Beach.
 
In his unstinting drive to reimagine hip-hop, Butler remains one of the preeminent visionaries of the last quarter-century. His first album with Digable Planets, Reachin (A New Refutation of Time and Space), nodded at Miles Davis in the first half of its title, but 27 years later, he has become one of the most vaunted inheritors of the trumpet deity’s rarefied legacy – still innovating as he enters his fourth decade as a working musician – splintering, rebuilding, and expanding the possibilities of sound. He has collaborated with like-minded visionaries Flying Lotus and Thundercat, Battles and Animal Collective. While all-timers like Radiohead and Lauryn Hill have invited him to join them on tour.
 
It remains impossible to accurately describe a Shabazz Palaces album without lapsing into cosmic tropes. Yet sometimes clichés are stand-ins for eternal truths. Therein, The Don of Diamond Dreams embodies a futuristic manifestation of ancient myth, full of robotic vocoder and warped auto-tune, Funkadelic refracted into different dimensions, weird portals and warm nocturnal joy rides alongside the coast (a reflection of it being mixed near the beach in California). The synthesizers are alien but the drums speak a universal language. It is hip-hop, dub, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, African, experimental, and occasionally even pop. But over the course of five albums, Shabazz Palaces have conceived the fluid boundaries of their own one-band genre.
 
Even though the construction of the album is meticulous, it’s a startling masterpiece of improvisation and instinct. It’s both cerebral and automatic, with Butler jotting down phrases and ideas in his phone and eventually shaping them into amorphous abstract expressionist canvasses. If anything, their latest illustrates Butler’s gift for being a conduit of sounds and experience. It’s partially shaped by his own reflection on being a parent and watching his son, Jazz, become internationally renowned as the artist, Lil Tracy. If you listen closely, you can hear the interplay between father and son, as Butler does what is impossible for most veteran artists: he absorbs the sounds of today’s youth, but filters it through his own fractured lens, spitting back convex poems with wild cadences, freestyling with the wisdom of age and the frenetic passion of someone still trying to show and prove. It’s confident and suffused with the thing that defines almost all great art: the willingness to risk attempting something new.
 
There is “Ad Ventures,” a shout out to Butler’s crew, The Black Constellation. The beat operates like a melodic free jazz hymn, with Ish boasting about Ethiopian carats and watching lakes from a theological terrace. It’s an imagistic rendering of their tours through Europe in sprinter vans, blitzing from place to place and absorbing every detail. Featuring Purple Tape Nate, “Fast Learner” offers odd splendor, spoken word reveries and flexes that wriggle through a wrinkle in time. The synthesizers sound like New Age from the 37th century crossed with 90s R&B, the drums are slow and seething. On top of that, Butler laid a guitar line down and auto-tune harmonies that instantiate the feeling of driving along PCH at night.
 
“Wet” is a freestyle of sorts with Ish offering his own twist on contemporary rap cadences but making it sound like an underwater Atlantis symphony. There are Based God shoutouts and fuzzy guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Ariel Pink album. “Chocolate Souffle” is some god-level shit-talking in the way that only Butler could do: replete with Maurice Chevalier allusions and admissions of being an “elitist at the zenith of slick demeanor.” While “Thanking the Girls” might be the most poignant song in the Shabazz catalog, a song that acknowledges the myriad positive ways in which women have shaped Butler’s life. The second verse is dedicated to his two daughters and the pride which they engender. Of course, this is a Shabazz Palaces song so the beat sounds like a riff on Panda Bear distilled through a bent futuristic boom-bap prism.
 
In some respects, it’s difficult to consider the possibility that this might be the best Shabazz Palaces album yet. Very few musicians have ever peaked in their fifth decade on earth, but whoever said they were actually from earth? It’s wrong to say that Shabazz Palaces have gone beyond the looking glass. This time they’ve shattered it entirely and created a brilliant new universe in each one of the shards.


NEWS : TUE, NOV 5, 2019 at 6:58 AM

Hear Clipping’s “Aquacode Databreaks” (feat. Shabazz Palaces) a New Track From “The Deep,” The Group’s Forthcoming 12” Single

You can now hear Clipping’s “Aquacode Databreaks” (feat. Shabazz Palaces), a new track from the group’s forthcoming single “The Deep,” available on DL/12” vinyl worldwide on Friday, November 29th through Sub Pop. Listen via YouTube - Spotify - Apple Music - Bandcamp

Both the vinyl and digital versions include two unreleased extra tracks (the aforementioned “Aquacode Databreaks,” and “Drownt”), while the vinyl edition also includes instrumental versions of all three tracks.

Clipping’s “The Deep” is a dark sci-fi tale about the underwater-dwelling descendants of African women thrown off slave ships and based on the mythology of Detroit electronic group Drexciya. 

The song was originally commissioned for a This American Life episode about Afrofuturism in 2017. “The Deep” also earned Clipping a nomination for a 2018 Hugo award, and the band constructed a sound installation based on “The Deep” at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

The 12” single comes on the heels of the November 5th release of The Deep, a novella by the two-time Astounding (formerly John W. Campbell) Award-nominated author Rivers Solomon (with Clipping credited as co-authors) inspired by the title track and published by Saga Press.


Clipping
“The Deep” 12” single

Tracklisting:
1. The Deep
2. Aquacode Databreaks (feat. Shabazz Palaces)
3. Drownt
4. The Deep (Instrumental)*
5. Aquacode Databreaks (Instrumental)*
6. Drownt (Instrumental)*
*vinyl-only

In further exciting news, Clipping also graces the cover of the forthcoming December issue of The Wire.


Clipping’s There Existed an Addiction to Bloodthe group’s acclaimed new album, is out now on CD, 2xLP, cassette, and a 2xLP Deluxe Limited “Lamestain” Edition from Sub Pop. The blood-splattered “Lamestain” edition is sold out online, and will only be available at select independent record stores, and via the band’s merch table at shows (while supplies last). Clipping will perform at the Adult Swim Festival on November 16th in Los Angeles. Additional live dates to be announced soon.