Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Later this month, the Seattle art-rap crew Shabazz Palaces will finally give us the twitchy, abstract new album Lese Majesty, their long-awaited follow-up to 2011′s endlessly rich Black Up. We’ve already posted their early tracks “They Come In Gold” and “#CAKE.” “Forerunner Foray,” the latest thing they’ve shared is full of negative space and disorienting synth-ripples, and Palaceer Lazaro’s voice comes through a few different filters. No other group could’ve put this song together. It’s an experience. Listen below.

Lese Majesty is out 7/29 on Sub Pop.

Comments (7)
  1. This is one of my favourite songs of this year.

  2. anybody catch the leak of this album last week yet? i feel the need to discuss…

    • If you pre-ordered it from Sub Pop, they sent out a stream link on soundcloud at the beginning of the month. I’ve been listening for weeks!

      So let’s discuss! Even though it’s 18 tracks, the album blows by so quickly. I feel like every time I snap out of its trance, it’s either in the middle on “Ishmael” (holy hell that song) or “Motion Sickness” near the end. It comes off as effortless, but the variation from song to song is enough to make my head overload.

      The opening 3 tracks are my favorite part at the moment. Glad they released “Forerunner Foray” as it is key to getting this album going. “Dawn in Luxor” is, well, majestic as fuck. This album hits track 4 before you realize the intro has passed on by.

      I really need to sit down and focus on this album, or at least have a lyrics sheet nearby. I’ve just been playing it while playing games and perhaps that’s why it rolls by so quickly. Although an album demanding repeated listens is exactly what I’d want from Shabazz Palaces. Quite thankful I’ve been getting to listen to it before its official release (legally even!) It’ll probably be a couple more months before I have a grasp of all the subtleties contained, but they’ve really out done themselves with “Lese Majesty”.

      • I’ve been listening to this on repeat (also via the Sub Pop pre-order stream) and I’m not even close to figuring this thing out – “Lese Majesty” is going to take many listens to unpack. No one else is making music like this. I think this album will end up surpassing “Black Up” (easily one of the best albums of 2011).

        • Last night I was giving “Lese Majesty” another spin, trying to focus in and see if I could delve deeper. Funny the first word Palaceer speaks is, “Focus.”

          I think the 1st Suite is taking shots at other rappers. I mean just look at the title “Forerunner Foray” and not to mention the lyric where he mentions he’s been going since ’92 (I forget the exact lyric, it’s a great one. makes me think of how Reasonable Doubt came out in ’96 while Palaceer already had a Grammy). Then once we get past the first few tracks where he identifies the landscape, we start venturing into Palaceer’s mind and why what he’s doing is superior. I think it’s incredible the centerpiece of “Lese Majesty” is Palaceer’s legal first name. He’s laying it all out, not to mention one of the best songs on the album. Totally cerebral, which I think is the point. But yeah, only about halfway to understanding the first half. Still lots to go.


          “Black Up” was easily the best hip-hop album of 2011, and you could make a case for best of 2011.

          • I think you’ve hit on it, this album is taking the genre to I feel exciting new places, but it’s also a mature work – it’s actually shocking when you think how long Ishmael Butler has been in the game. “Mimicking gods” is right. The lyrical references to mythic and religious imagery adds to the feeling of this album coming from some kind of timeless place, while simultaneously sounding like nothing that has come before. All of which is to say, I can’t wait to hear this on better speakers when the vinyl ships.

  3. this and the rest of the album are so unbelievably majestic

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