Friday, July 1, 2011

Grind And Shine: Shabazz Palaces And THEESatisfaction [NPR]

ARTISTS: In Seattle, Ishmael Butler — aka Palaceer Lazaro — has fans monitoring his every move, treating his future-rap project Shabazz Palaces like a religion. Younger hip-hop artists imitate his style. He invariably sells out his infrequent, conceptual concerts. He also has skeptics who find his free-form music irritating. Butler's star rose and fell in the 1990s as part of jazz-rap group Digable Planets — the group was popular in Seattle, but the fact that he was from the city was never widely known. At present, he is Seattle's biggest rock star. To many local residents, he seems to have emerged from nowhere. His masterful new album Black Up is Sub Pop Records' first major rap release — a ghostly document that moves at roughly one billion styles per hour. 

The women of THEESatisfaction are a generation younger than Butler, and ride a similarly spaced-out wavelength. Catherine Harris-White and Stasia Irons sing and rap on Black Up. Word on the street is they have already signed a record label contract, with an announcement forthcoming.

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