January 7, 2015

Shabazz-Palaces-at-Neumos-8-1-14-12

Zilla Rocca is catchy, yes. Trendy, no.

The criticism I read about Shabazz Palaces’ latest LP Lese Majesty were dumbfounding to me. I’m a completely biased Shabazz devotee, and even I will acknowledge that Lese Majesty wasn’t as great as Black Up. But what I noticed about critics knocking Lese was that they couldn’t grasp the fly shit. The entire theme of Lese Majesty was very simple: I’m flyer than you because I come from an era where being fly was the only way to survive. I look better than you. I carry myself in a way that impresses pimps and street cats. I was there. You’re a square. We do not compare.

Ish’s carryover from the days of Digable Planets two decades ago hasn’t changed: I’m slicker this year, mad slicker.

The discussion about Shabazz Palaces should never be from a technical level. You can’t quantify the feeling of being fresh: brand new Bally sneakers, truck jewels, Uptowns you clean with a toothbrush. The production is Interstellar but the lyrics are Willie Dynamite, escaping the bleak pursuing a feeling. Ish is one of the few rappers from the ’90s who still dresses like he’s seaparate from anything else happening around himit’s inspiring. It’s unique. If you’re not from his ilk, you can could never touch it. See the god Dapper Dan down and trucked up. Maximas was kicked up.

How do you rate that in terms of 7/10, 3 stars out of 5?

“Ham Sandwich”  is classified on Soundcloud as “#frank yerby”, the first African American author to become a millionaire off his pen.  “Persuing pace, I’m hashtage CAKE, these clowns is CRAZE, it’s pigs around, I pull that sound up off my waist”.  It’s a loosie that rivals past one-offs from the crew like “Bronny on a Breakaway”.  Flipping a classic breakbeat, “Ham Sandiwch”  has Return to the 36 Chambers piano twinkles tumbling along with faint G-Funk synths set to “Intruder Alert”. The stripped down production would be right at home on Of Light EP, but post-Lese Majesty “Ham Sandwich” is Blaxploitation beauty presented by the satin jacket snake tamers. They make their moves, you make yours too.

 

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