Dave Segal at The Stranger gets the credit for this one. After he wrote a couple of glowing pieces about the Seattle hip-hop project Shabazz Palaces, I pretty much had to check it out, even though it was tricky to find a sample. (It still is. You really have to know where to look.)
Boy, am I glad I did. These two CDs have a sound that is, to these ears, nearly perfect hip-hop. There’s plenty of hazy, Southern-style funk and bump and boom-bap, plus off-kilter touches of jazz, electro and African music to keep heads guessing. Beats clatter and clunk throughout, and the production is expertly vintage; play these records, turn ‘em up loud, close your eyes and let a vision of spinning vinyl fill your brain.
The whole thing is intentionally mysterious: The CDs have no titles. Shabazz Palaces has no MySpace, no bio on its Web site, no marketing campaign. Word is getting out about who’s behind this music, so if you do a little Googling, you can figure it out, but I’m not going to spoil the surprise here. All I know is that, at a combined 45 minutes running time, I’m counting these two CDs as one release — one release that’s among the best of the year so far.
Oh, and make sure you get back over here on Friday for an overview of my favorite albums of the first half of the year. I’ll also have a column in GO! Magazine recapping what a great year 2009 has been so far for local music.
Tags: Shabazz Palaces