Shabazz Palaces

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Shabazz Palaces
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Years active 2009–present
Labels Sub Pop
Associated acts

Shabazz Palaces is an American hip hop duo from Seattle composed of Ishmael Butler a.k.a. Palaceer Lazaro (formerly Butterfly of jazz rap group Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai "Baba" Maraire, son of mbira master Dumisani Maraire.[1][2] They have been active since 2009 and have released two studio albums, Black Up (2011) and Lese Majesty (2014), to critical acclaim.


The pair anonymously self-released two EPs, Eagles Soar, Oil Flows and The Seven New (referred to as Shabazz Palaces and Of Light, respectively) in 2009 before becoming one of the few hip-hop acts to be signed to the Sub Pop label and releasing its debut full-length album, Black Up to wide critical acclaim in 2011.[3] Black Up was listed #1 in Seattle Times music columnist Andrew Matson's "Local Top #10" of 2011.[4]

The duo released its second album, Lese Majesty, on July 29, 2014.[5] The album was first premiered at Seattle's Pacific Science Center Laser Dome in April 2014.

In February 2016, Butler announced that the duo were completing their third studio album, which Butler described as being about "our relationship with devices. Not just our reliance on technological devices, but the ways they make us live and present and manipulate yourself."[6]


Shabazz Palaces is included in Black Constellation, a collective of visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. The group hosts a series of parties referred to as "Black Weirdo" in Seattle, Toronto, New York and Minneapolis.[7]

Maraire collaborated with Hussein Kalonji as Chimurenga Renaissance to release riZe vadZimu riZe on March 25, 2014.[8] Butler contributed two features as Palaceer Lazaro.

The group were featured on a track from Flying Lotus' 2013 mixtape Ideas+Drafts+Loops. They also featuring on Battles' 2012 remix album Dross Glop; charged with remixing the track "White Electric".

Style and influences[edit]

Butler notes that the work of Shabazz Palaces differs from his previous work stylistically. He cites his primary influences as "abstract", pulling from podcasts and mixtapes. Butler attributes the use of African percussion and jazz overtones to his family's musical preferences.[9]


Studio albums


External links[edit]