Shabazz Palaces – “Fast Learner” (Feat. Purple Tape Nate)

The enigmatic Seattle art-rap titans Shabazz Palaces are returning to the fray. Back in 2017, Shabazz Palaces released two albums, Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star and Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines, on the same day. We last heard from the group when they teamed up with Clipping on the Drexciya-inspired 2019 single “Aquacode Databreaks.” And today, Shabazz Palaces have announced a new album that’s set to arrive this spring.

The group recorded the new LP The Don Of Diamond Dreams in Seattle over the course of 2019, and it promises to be another trip into their cosmic stew of influences. They’ve shared lead single “Fast Learner,” a woozy and echo-laden lurch that the group recorded with the excellently named Purple Tape Nate, a singer who previously appeared on the Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines track “Love In The Time Of Kanye.” It’s a cool piece of music, a starry-eyed vibe-out, and it’s a strong indicator for how the rest of the album might sound.

Shabazz Palaces leader and erstwhile Digable Planet Ishmael Butler wrote and produced “Fast Learner,” and the track draws stylistic connections between rumbling ’80s electro, broken-up Brainfeeder beat music, and circa-now astral Auto-Tuned drug rap. (More than almost any rapper from his generation, Butler should understand the latter phenomenon; his son Lil Tracy is a leader in that scene.) Below, listen to “Fast Learner” and check out the album’s tracklist.

01 “Portal North: Panthera”
02 “Ad Ventures”
03 “Fast Learner” (Feat. Purple Tape Nate)
04 “Wet”
05 “Chocolate Souffle”
06 “Portal South: Micah”
07 “Bad Bitch Walking” (Feat. Stas THEE Boss)
09 “Money Yoga” (Feat. Darrius)
09 Thanking The Girls”
10 “Reg Walks By The Looking Glass” (Feat. Carlos Overall)

The Don Of Diamond Dreams is out 4/17 on Sub Pop.