Some cutting-room bonus batter from this week's piece on Shabazz Palaces:
Kicking off a new decade that brims with hope and foreboding both- Shabazz almost impart a feeling of operating on a level of cosmic import that’s unfair to the legion of bullshitters and the unimaginative, here and abroad- reminding them that “to be an MC is a pact not an act, matter fact it’s an honor”.
Shabazz is a rung or three ahead of the pack on hiphop’s evolutionary ladder, a classic example of the form yet so bold that isn’t even at first recognizable; something like Amerikkka’s Most Wanted meets Cold Vein- just far, far fonkier. Anyone decrying Ish’s new direction has missed a critical narrative he’s continued his whole career: a spirit of roots-true musical exploration and pro-Black consciousness ran from Reachin’, through Blowout and Cherrywine, up to this: as Ladybug Mecca, Ish’s partner in Digable Planets once remarked: “See Marvin knew it, Sly knew it, Cube know it, and now we do it.”
Musically speaking, there couldn’t be a better time for Shabazz' perspective to come to the fore; as mainstream hiphop seems to have almost completed it’s slow cliff dive, as local hiphop is flush with new, young energy, with artists looking to break the rules and start anew. Shabazz Palaces break all the rules they know so well- energizing the scene without breaking a sweat. For a long time, small minds have been bickering about who should be the one to put “Seattle on the map”, as bullshit as that now-antiquated model is- I would say, who better than someone who's already done it?