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, Seattle-based experimental hip-hop group led by Ishmael Butler, aka Palaceer Lazaro (formerly Butterfly of jazz–hip hop group Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai "Baba" Maraire, son of Mbira master Dumisani Maraire.[1][2]


The group 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 group 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.


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.[6]

Maraire collaborated with Hussein Kalonji as Chimurenga Renaissance to release riZe vadZimu riZe on March 25, 2014.[7] Butler contributed two features as Palaceer Lazaro.

The group were also featured on a track from Flying Lotus' 2013 mixtape Ideas+Drafts+Loops.

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.[8]



External links[edit]