1: Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
This has to be the most freshest sound I’ve heard in a very very long time. It sounds like hip hop music from the future…made by broken renegade robots who are being nostalgic about the days when they could boogie / make weird philosophical references. The production is incredible, and the most inventive I’ve heard since the beats that burial used on ‘untrue’. In places vocals themselves are used to create beats, being stretched beyond their capacity to make howly type (and very disconcerting at first) sounds. I have no idea what some of these sounds are or what they came from, but my oh my do I fucking love them.
The emphasis on this strange, oddly distorted sound makes this like no other hip hop album I’ve heard…like…ever. I mean, there’s a bit in the opener ‘free press and curl’ where the song changes direction completely and hits this slow deep bass line that sounds like a fatass sumo wrestler chestbumping you into a pool of water and you are left shouting FUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKK THIS IS INCREDIBLE. The creativity in the instrumentation and beats make this album feel like it’s from another world, another age, another type of noise…one that doesn’t even translate to our own type of noise. It feels like we can only really comprehend about 95% of whats actually being played back to us, and Shabazz Palaces are keeping that 5% in their insane minds.
And that’s not even talking about the rapping. I mean shiiiiiiiit. The flow that Ishmael Butler has is just as creative as the production, with Butler picking out sentence structures and rhythms that leaves you bumping your head whilst being confused as fuck. The weird shit that he talks about matches the sound of the album perfectly (things are looking blacker, but black is getting whiter…) and the lyrical content never fails in leaving you both mind blown and hooked for more. The album shifts and swerves, never staying static and introduces new ideas at the same time as removing them. This isn’t just the sound of new hip-hop music that I’m looking for, it’s the type of innovation, creativity, depth and pure imagination that I think music of today desperately needs. Its just fucking amazing like.