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Black Up by Shabazz Palaces
Released: Jun 2011
Label: Sub Pop Records
Northwest collective Shabazz Palaces explores Afro surrealism on Black Up. "New off the spaceship/ Dipped in punctuation," claims Palaceer Lazaro on "Recollections of the Wraith" as he praises his band's dread bass and dub wallops, and dances over beats as beguiling as his rhymes. "It's a feeling," he says on "Are You ... Can You ... Were You?" Shabazz Palaces' willful experiments are too esoteric for pop consumption, but that may the point, if his volleys against "corny" rappers on "Yeah You" are any indication. For the rest of us, delving into Black Up's riddles is its own reward.
Mosi Reeves

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