Experimental rappers: Shabazz Palaces

Hip-hop doesn't generally favor unexpected transformations. Aging pashas like <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB002580" title="Jay-Z" href="/topic/entertainment/music/jay-z-PECLB002580.topic">Jay-Z</a> and <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB001576" title="Eminem" href="/topic/entertainment/music/eminem-PECLB001576.topic">Eminem</a> have thrived by perfecting strong, specific approaches, but rare is the artist who succeeds in one vein and then finds power in another. Ishmael Butler is doing just that: The central figure in the jazzy 1990s trio Digable Planets, the Seattle-based Butler tried a few things before settling into the deep, thorny sound of Shabazz Palaces. Two self-released albums introduced the mysterious collective's sound, an unexpected blend of heady club rhythms, smoky psychedelia and world-fusion curveballs, all serving Butler's sharp, poetic raps. Now signed to indie powerhouse Sub Pop, Shabazz Palaces promises to return Butler to a strong position within the scene he charmed in his youth.<br>
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-- Ann Powers
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( Sup Pop )

Hip-hop doesn't generally favor unexpected transformations. Aging pashas like Jay-Z and Eminem have thrived by perfecting strong, specific approaches, but rare is the artist who succeeds in one vein and then finds power in another. Ishmael Butler is doing just that: The central figure in the jazzy 1990s trio Digable Planets, the Seattle-based Butler tried a few things before settling into the deep, thorny sound of Shabazz Palaces. Two self-released albums introduced the mysterious collective's sound, an unexpected blend of heady club rhythms, smoky psychedelia and world-fusion curveballs, all serving Butler's sharp, poetic raps. Now signed to indie powerhouse Sub Pop, Shabazz Palaces promises to return Butler to a strong position within the scene he charmed in his youth.

-- Ann Powers

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