Albums to watch

Black Up

Shabazz Palaces

Black Up

Experimental indie-rap with African and jazz influences on the first release from the collective led by Palaceer Lazaro (aka Ishmael Butler,once of NY hip hop outfit Digable Planets)

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Sub Pop
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US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   A.V. Club

    By cutting out the usual comeback bluster and throwback rehash, Butler may have discovered hip-hop’s fountain of youth
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  2. 10.0 |   The Irish Times

    As the unconventional, exotic and otherworldy sounds bubble and beguile throughout, it’s clear that Shabazz Palaces have set their controls for an entirely other dimension
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  3. 10.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Black Up is not the best hip hop album of the year so far, it’s the best album of the year so far
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  4. 9.5 |   Prefix

    If there’s been a better album, hip-hop or not, out this year, I haven’t heard it
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  5. 9.1 |   Beats Per Minute

    Shabazz Palaces have pushed the music forward, so that it once again can be raw, real, and unconventional
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  6. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    It doesn’t sound like any other hip-hop album that’s out
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  7. 9.0 |   AU Review

    There’s plenty of bass, jazz, space, echo, hazy flow, synthy weirdness and trumpet on show here and Butler’s ability to draw together seemingly disparate tracks is nothing short of genius
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  8. 9.0 |   No Ripcord

    As it ebbs away, you’re left in awe of their captivating invention
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  9. 9.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    The only thing worth asking is, “how can this be bettered?”
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  10. 8.8 |   Pitchfork

    Butler enacts the union of these opposites - words as action, action into words - and it's no exaggeration to call this transmutation what it is: magic
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  11. 8.5 |   Bowlegs

    A record of true thought and independent thinking
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  12. 8.0 |   The Fly

    It’s intelligent storytelling to stimulate the mind – and isn’t that what good hip-hop has always been about?
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  13. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    A thrilling, space-age vision of modern hip-hop
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  14. 8.0 |   BBC

    When it works... it’s an insidiously funky listen
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  15. 8.0 |   NME

    He has casually leap-frogged the likes of Tyler, The Creator and Wiz Khalifa in the Most Inventive Hip-Hop Album Of The Year Stakes.
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  16. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    If it’s a hip-hop album — and that’s a big “if” — then it’s the finest one yet this year. And if it’s not, well then, let’s just call it one of the finest albums of 2011
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  17. 8.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Black Up reveals Shabazz Palaces as an artist much more in line with the future, voicing his dissatisfaction by carving his own path
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  18. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Black Up is more than just music for Radiohead to namedrop. Print edition only

  19. 8.0 |   Uncut

    There's an earworm-like lure in every track. Print edition only

  20. 8.0 |   The Observer

    This album will not destroy all before it. But it will knock trinkets off your shelves with its sub-bass wobble and titillate those parts that conventional hip-hop doesn't reach
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  21. 8.0 |   State

    Shabazz Palaces sound like no one else and that is where the beauty lies
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  22. 7.0 |   Spin

    Black Up impresses most with its beguiling sounds
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  23. 7.0 |   Under The Radar

    The opening and closing tracks sound like a yin-yang set for an album that matches its dark with light
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  24. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Noirish sound clouds
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  25. 7.0 |   Blurt

    Butler time warps between the planes of crunk and classic rap with an avant-gangsta swagger
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  26. 7.0 |   The Quietus

    While Black Up plays like obtrusive background hip hop if you're not in the right mood, you'll wind up rewinding to this or that track as soon as it's over
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  27. 6.0 |   Q

    Lava-like bass and shuddering beats. Print edition only

  28. 6.0 |   The Independent

    Interesting stuff, though occasionally one yearns for a decent tune
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Shabazz Palaces: Black Up

  • Download full album for just £5.49
  • 1. free press and curl £0.99
  • 2. An echo from the hosts that profess infinitum £0.99
  • 3. Are you… Can you… Were you? (Felt) £0.99
  • 4. A treatease dedicated to The Avian Airess from North East Nubis (1000 questions, 1 answer) £0.99
  • 5. Youlogy £0.99
  • 6. Endeavors for Never (The last time we spoke you said you were not here.  I saw you though.) £0.99
  • 7. Recollections of the wraith £0.99
  • 8. The King’s new clothes were made by his own hands £0.99
  • 9. yeah you £0.99
  • 10. Swerve... the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding) £0.99
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