• Patrick O'Brien-Smith

From the very beginning, local hiphop act Shabazz Palaces have been on the cryptic tip. The raps, production, cover art, videos, and performances at galleries and live-music venues present and elaborate on aspects of a culture that the world can barely understand—a culture that, long ago, seems to have broken from the highest civilizations of North, West, and East Africa and developed in isolation. The culture can only be partially understood by us. Sometimes we get a section of a story that's weaved from Palaces' multiple histories, other times we see some of the life of a street in a city that appears to be everywhere and nowhere, and other times there are visions of a future that's weirdly Earthless. This is indeed how one feels when listening to the new album Lese Majesty...

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