Monday, December 19, 2011
Welcome To Shabazz Palace
One does not usually associate Sub Pop with the hip hop community. Indie rock, yes. Dope rhymes and phresh beats, no. And yet, by some strange twist of fate, Shabazz Palaces have managed to find their way to the home of Mudhoney and made themselves comfortable.
Looking at their album, Black Up, the thing looks more like a Godspeed You Black Emperor album than anything Death Row Records would put out. Non-descript and covered in velvet the Black Up is about as mysterious as you're likely to see when it comes to album packaging. What lurks inside though is anything but non-descript. This trunk rattling hip hop record drops it low and never lifts it back up.
Dark, broody, and stuck in some kind of funk, this album is packed with bangers but not the usual top 40 kind. Abstract and cooler than what you're hearing on the radio, Shabazz Palaces create a murky world where only they could live. This mysterious, shady world is an awesome place that might be a little scary but the bass waves will see you through.
Unusual in all the best ways, chilled out when it needs to be, and up front when it wants, Black Up is a fantastic independent hip hop record that is anything but stereotypical. Don't let the cover, the label, or the name fool you...Shabazz Palace are great at what they do and Black Up is one heck of a record.