Uproxx says of “Lightro…” and Watercolor, “Over a wafting cloud of synthy production Ray tackles the grimness of death and the fleeting nature of life, before the track bleeds into Stas’ starlit harmonies….When he starts spitting, you know it’s him immediately. He runs through various cadences and countless rhythms like it’s nothing to change up, but never loses a sense of cohesion in his rapping…In many ways, Watercolor is a distillation of Northwest rap told through the region’s most promising newcomer (see premiere February 21st).”
Porter Ray’s current live dates include a hometown release show on March 8th at Barboza (with guests Jarv Dee, Cam the Mac, and Bruce Leroy), multiple appearances at SXSW March 15th-19th, and Sasquatch Music Festival on May 26th. More live dates coming soon.
Tour Dates + Ticket Links Feb. 26 - Seattle, WA – Crocodile (w/ Pickwick for ACLU Benefit) Mar. 08 - Seattle, WA – Barboza (Watercolor Release Party) Mar. 15-19 - Austin, TX - SXSW May 26 - Quincy, WA - Sasquatch Music Festival
“Lightro…,” and the forthcoming Watercolor, find Ray blending thoughtful portraits of Seattle streets with cathartic biographical accounts of an eventful adolescence and early adulthood, during which his father passed away, his brother was shot and killed, he became a father, and saw his son’s mother go to jail. Possessing insight beyond his years, Ray’s laid back yet captivating style, vivid lyrical vignettes and powerful storytelling are built around a vulnerability and unflinching honesty.
Watercolor is available for preorder in all your favorite formats. LP pre-orders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart and independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on translucent vinyl with magenta swirl in North America & Translucent vinyl in Europe, while supplies last.
Watercolor features original production from B-Roc, Dez Anthony, and Kmtk, and was mixed by Erik Blood. Guest appearances include Cashtro, Stas Thee Boss, Nate Jack, Jus Moni and Black Constellation elders Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy Dai of Shabazz Palaces.
What are “The People” saying about Porter Ray? Well, since you asked:
“A star in the making.” [Watercolor] - Uncut
“A natural storyteller, Ray unleashed a series of vivid mixtape portraits of his locale’s druggy highs and lows that painted him as a new school Nas with the lyrical slickness of Roc Marciano. The street-wise intellect certainly lets his slightly off-pitched voice do most of the heavy lifting over the stuttering spacey synthetics, phased keys and warped Rhodes of B-Roc’s atmospheric production.” [Watercolor, 4/5] -MOJO
“As a rapper, Porter’s storytelling skills drive his lyrical content. He tries to paint pictures, never sounding over excited or too energetic, opting for beats which create unique moods….with his effortlessly smooth tone and considered lyricism, Porter carries himself with striking presence and wisdom.” [Watercolor] - Crack Magazine
“Ray is Seattle to the bone, continuing the tradition of Sea-Town rappers with malleable flows and unorthodox sounds that bend along with them….The first taste of his album is a posse cut of sorts featuring Shabazz Palaces,Palaceer, and Castro. They all spit complicated rhyme schemes over a hollowed-out soundscape with dry 808 drums and shimmering, space-age synths reminiscent of THEESatisfaction.” [“Sacred Geometry”] - Stereogum
“Seattle rapper Porter Ray shares another hazy and seductive gem from his debut…“Arithmetic” showcases Porter’s golden voice and effortlessly vivid flow over a dreamy, immersively narcotic beat, elevated by spectral siren calls from the great Stas Thee Boss (formerly of THEESatisfaction) and anchored by a crucial assist from revered Seattle MC Infinite.” [“Arithmetic”] - Gorilla vs Bear
“On the first track from the Seattle native’s forthcoming Watercolor, Porter leads the song with melodic cadences and descriptive verses. Here, he and his collaborators all highlight the narratives that make up this holy equation.” [“Sacred Geometry”] - The FADER
Watercolor, the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated Sub Pop debut from Seattle’s own Porter Ray, will be available worldwide on March 10th, 2017. Porter is a Seattle based MC who caught the attention of Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, who signed him to the label in 2014.
“Sacred Geometry [Constellation Mix]”- Watercolor’s lead single - is an extended album version featuring The Palaceer, Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces, and Ray’s childhood friend and cohort, Cashtro. This alternative album mix is available on the digital & LP versions of the record.
The FADER premiered the track today (see/hear exclusively at The FADER) and had this to say:“On the first track from the Seattle native’s forthcoming Watercolor, Porter leads the song with melodic cadences and descriptive verses. Here, he and his collaborators all highlight the narratives that make up this holy equation.”
Porter Ray is a natural… he sounds like East Seattle feels. From the same wet blocks that spawned Quincy, Jimi and Ishmael, comes Porter Ray. Having previously penned six projects showcasing dexterous wordplay, unflinching honesty and vulnerability, tempered with equal degrees of braggadocio and charm; Porter is an old soul, a storyteller par excellence, a griot possessing insight beyond his years.
A bit of Context…
Porter Ray has had no choice but to feel deeply. Loss and violence seemed to plague Porter’s adolescence and early adulthood. His father fell gravely ill and his subsequent passing signaled the beginning of a dark time. Leaving high school devoid of any certification was next. Losing his younger brother to a much-publicized case of gun violence four years later only added to the young de facto patriarch’s heavy heart and perceived curse. The year following found some of his closest friends [including his son’s mother] locked up in the penitentiary with lengthy sentences.
Watercolor features original production from B-Roc, Dez Anthony, and Kmtk, and was mixed by Erik Blood. It is vocally flavored by guest appearances from THEE Satisfaction’s Stas THEE Boss,Cashtro, Nate Jack, and Jus Moni. Iconic Central District MC, Infinite, of Narkotik and Tribal Productions, as well as Black Constellation elders Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy Dai of Shabazz Palaces also make key contributions.
Watercolor is now available for preorder on CD / 2xLP / DL / CASS from Sub Pop [order here]. LP pre-orders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart and independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on translucent vinyl with magenta swirl in North America & Translucent vinyl in Europe, while supplies last.
Follow all things Porter Ray everywhere in the galaxy via Facebook | Twitter | Instagram, and around the globe:
Tour Dates Feb. 17 - Seattle, WA - Sole Repair* Feb. 26 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile** Mar. 08 - Seattle, WA - Barboza (album release party) Mar. 15-19 - Austin, TX - SXSW * w/ Sisters ** w/ Pickwick
Shabazz Palaces immersive new video for “Dawn In Luxor” - a standout track from the group’s critically acclaimed album Lese Majesty - pairs stunning cinematography and VFX, with footage courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Hubble and Cassini missions. Director Stephan Gray dubs the new visual a “daydream on a nightwalk,” and the result is as mesmerizing as you’d imagine.
ICYMI: Shabazz Palaces previously announced summer tour schedule runs June 4th through September 17th 2016. Highlights include: August 4th and August 8th supporting Radiohead’s Los Angeles shows (!!!) at the Shrine Auditorium; August 13th at Eaux Claires Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin; August 27th at Brooklyn’s Afropunk Festival; And three U.S. west coast shows: September 15th-16th in Oakland at Fox Theatre and September 17th at the Hollywood Bowl with Flying Lotus, George Clinton + Parliament Funkadelic and Thundercat.
We’re thrilled to announce that Shabazz Palaceswill join Radiohead as support on the group’s forthcoming Los Angeles shows. The performances will take place on Thursday, August 4th and Monday, August 8th at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
The Radiohead support slots are the latest additions to Shabazz Palaces’ summer festival schedule, which includes: June 4th in Spokane for Volume The Inlander’s Music Festival; June 18th at Vancouver’s Levitation Festival; August 13th at Eaux Claires Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Brooklyn’s Afropunk Festival August 27th.
Additionally, Shabazz Palaces will join Flying Lotus, George Clinton + Parliament Funkadelic and Thundercat for three U.S. west coast shows: September 15th-16th in Oakland at Fox Theatre and September 17th at the Hollywood Bowl. (complete dates below.)
These summer tour dates are in support of Lese Majesty, which is available for purchase on CD / 2xLP / CD from Sub Pop Megamart, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and an independent retailer near you.
Treat your eyes and ears to a sampling of Shabazz Palaces mind melting videos and music in this YouTube Playlist.
What people are saying about Lese Majesty: Lese Majesty is Shabazz Palaces getting interstellar, a set of intricate, enigmatic, yet meaningful suites complete with an (initially) impenetrable multidimensional blueprint/map connecting it all in the liner notes. Beneath the visuals, the album contends with a strain of Afrofuturism that puts its faith in finding unities in contradictions and clarity in riddles (“I’m having my cake and I’m eating cake,” “facts stated to enhance what is pre-born,” “we try to unreproduce six tension intervals”), reconciling structure and formlessness, forethought and spontaneity….meter-defying breaks and tactile, synthesized bass-church/musique concrète production that turns human language into primordial elements of cosmic influence. It’s humbling stuff that urges you to dance but knows full well that, to do so, you’ll need to relearn new and better steps [50 Best Albums Of 2014] - Pitchfork
“Unlike their previous, also brilliant full-length Black Up, Shabazz Palaces’ new “sonic move” Lese Majesty is not necessarily conducive to absorption in small doses. The record is a massive, dense monolith, divided into suites that only start to make sense after countless repeat listens. It’s a bridge from rap’s beginnings in the early ’70s into its future — structurally, thematically, lyrically, sonically, all of it — that sounds so many light years ahead of everything else in the genre that its nods to the past only reveal themselves after one invests real time immersed in what we called “the impossibly deep, singular astral landscape” that the group has created.” [Album of the Year] - Gorilla Vs. Bear
“With their second album, Seattle hiphop duo Shabazz Palaces unshackled Afrofuturism from cliche in order to present a holistic almost familiar worldview that the future is already here, before demanding an honest response to that revelation. Hua Hsu said: Abstraction is only useful insofar as it shakes our reliance and this is what makes Lese Majesty’s primal futurism such a bewildering experience. Palaceer raps with secularity and conviction as all that was once solid melts into air - rules and codes vanish, leaving nothing but ghosts while beats dissolve into pretty colors.” [#7 / Albums of the Year] - The Wire
Tour Dates Jun. 04 - Spokane, WA - Volume: The Inlander’s Music Festival @ Terrain Stage Jun. 18 - Vancouver, BC - Levitation Festival @ Imperial Vancouver Aug. 04 - Los Angeles, CA - Shrine Auditorium * Aug. 08 - Los Angeles, CA - Shrine Auditorium * Aug. 13 - Eau Claire, WI - Eaux Claires Music Festival Aug. 27 - Brooklyn, NY - Afropunk Fest @ Brainfeeder Stage Sep. 15 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre ** Sep. 16 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre ** Sep. 17 - Hollywood, CA - Hollywood Bowl ** * w / Radiohead ** w/ Flying Lotus, George Clinton + Parliament Funkadelic, Thundercat, The Gaslamp Killer
Shabazz Palaces’ Sub Pop labelmate, Chad VanGaalen, is more than just an insanely prolific and creative songwriter and performer, he’s equally accomplished as an illustrator and animator. He’s done many videos for himself, but he’s also directed videos for other Sub Pop artists like J Mascis and The Head and the Heart. All of which brings us to his latest directorial effort, the music video for Shabazz Palaces’ Lese Majesty track, “Forerunner Foray”, which Gorilla Vs. Bear premiered today.
Take a few minutes to enjoy the cinematic new music video for Shabazz Palaces’ “Motion Sickness” off of their latest record, Lese Majesty, which you can (and frankly, probably should) pick up from Sub Pop here.