After the members of Digable Planets broke up and continued with their own creative pursuits – Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler had started a live music hip-hop act, Cherrywine, that released an album in 2003; Doodlebug now goes by the name of Cee Knowledge and started touring with a backing band by the name of Cee Knowledge and the Cosmic Funk Orchestra; and Ladybug, now known as Lady Mecca embarked on a solo career, releasing a solo album in 2005. Interestingly, Butler disappeared after the release of Cherrywine’s debut album and reappeared several years later with collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Baba Maraire in a project they called Shabazz Palaces. They quickly and anonymously self-releaed two EPs before signing to Sub Pop Records and releasing the critically applauded Black Up! In fact, the duo of Butler and Maraire quickly developed a reputation for having crafted a sound that uncompromisingly defied easy description — it sounds unlike anything you would have come across in most contemporary hip-hop, as the sound on Black Up! was surreal and kaleidoscopic as it consisted of swirling electronics, weird syncopated rhythms, and perhaps most important, Butler’s ridiculously complex and inventive rhyme schemes.
Shabazz Palaces much anticipated follow up to Black Up!, Lese Majesty is slated for a July 28th release globally and a July 29th release across North America. And form the initial batches of singles that have been released, there’s some things that are pretty obvious – namely that the duo of Butler and Maraire are relentlessly experimental and focus on crafting intricately nuanced psychedelic soundscapes. In fact, on Lese Majesty, Shabazz Palaces have gone through a bit of a change in sonic direction as their sound incorporates pulsating New Wave-era synths, a complex and playful array of samples and found sounds that give their sound a mind-bending, peyote-inspired sensibility. Much like the album’s previous single “#CAKE,” “Forerunner Foray,” effortlessly morphs and shifts — seemingly at will; however, “Forerunner Foray” feels trapper and more ethereal while continuing to show that Butler’s flow is simply ridiculous. Sonically, these guys have crafted a sound that is unlike any other in hip-hop – or in any other genre.