Palaceer Lazaro is the founder and frontman of the excellent and inventive Seattle hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces. Once known as Butterfly, one of three MCs in the pioneering group Digable Planets, Lazaro was born Ishmael Butler and his actions suggest that he was brought here to make a difference. The critically acclaimed new Shabazz Palaces album is called Lese Majeste, a wonderfully constructed seven-piece suite of 18 songs, which is out now via Sub Pop Records. Its creators have described Lese Majeste’s dizzying array of beats and rhymes as an attack and it’s true; there is revolution in the air whenever Shabazz Palaces touch down. They’re on tour throughout Europe now and have several upcoming North American dates, including stops at the Kool Haus in Toronto on November 21 and the Corona Theatre in Montreal on November 22. Here, Ish and I discuss what’s up in Seattle, attacking suckerism and materialism, aging out of hip-hop culture, acting young versus being youthful, actually contributing to the culture, necessary self-involvement and elevating your community and social media, when hip-hop became the powers that be, the song “Dawn in Luxor” and Egypt, a throughline between “lese majeste,” overtaking majesty, and Watch the Throne, calling people on shit but also not trusting everything we think we know about them, kids in Chicago and down south are the leaders of hip-hop, basketball and jazz, hearing “Rapper’s Delight” and Rakim’s “Eric B. is President/My Melody,” De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, Guelph and Portlandia and Seattle hippie mysticism and betterment, what’s next with the Black Constellation, the songs “Soundview,” “Ishmael,” “…down 155th in MCM Snorkel,” and then we out.
Related links: subpop.com/artists/shabazz_palaces vishkhanna.com
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