Shabazz Palaces, the experimental hip-hop group led by Ishmael Butler, put out the excellent debut album Black Up in 2011, and have been releasing singles lately from their new album, Lese Majesty. If songs like “They Come In Gold,” “#CAKE,” and “Forerunner Foray” seemed even harder to grasp than their already amorphous predecessors, that’s because (as we’ve known from the beginning) this new album is built as a song suite and really needs to be digested in one sitting. Unlike the way Black Up had songs that ended in completely different places and forms than where they begin, Lese Majesty has shorter songs that add up to one swirling, impressionistic whole. Now you can, and should, listen to the entire thing over at NPR, and discuss in the comments here, because this thing requires some discussion.

Comments (3)
  1. This thing does require discussion, and I would love to see other opinions. I feel this album is going to confound a lot of critics – there’s a lot of ambition here, and it really does take multiple listens to take it all in. This is the follow-up to “Black Up” that I wanted, it’s challenging, it pushes the genre forward, but it’s a fun listen too. I’m curious where I’ll land on this one at the end of the year, but for now I’m enjoying being immersed in this strange and beautiful album.

  2. It’s definitely one of my favourite albums of the year. Every comment I’ve read so far is about how it needs time to be unpacked – that’s certainly been my experience, although I loved it from first listen, even if I wasn’t then (and I’m probably still not) able to articulate exactly why. One thing that’s true is that it keeps getting better with every listen. This shit is going to be prominent as fuck come end of year lists, I’d be willing to bet on it.

  3. This is the album I have been wanting for the summer. It’s different from Black Up but still has traces of that album’s sound. It fully lives up to my expectations, it’s unique and challenging yet strangely accessible at the same time.

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