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Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces are percussionist Tendai Maraire and Ishmael Butler, formerly of Cherrywine and Digable Planets respectively. Working now under the moniker Palaceer Lazaro, Butler provides the group’s vision and vocals, while Tendai employs ancient instruments from his homeland Zimbabwe. After releasing several independent recordings on small labels, they contracted to release an EP with Sub Pop in 2010 and have collaborated with artists such as MC Silk and THEESatisfaction.

They deliver sincere and radical lyrics with sounds and beats derived from around the world. Containing echos of funk, minor-key jazz, London dubstep and mbira sounds, they structure their songs outside hip-hop’s 16 bar chorus-repeat form, a style that won them the first-ever Music Genius award from Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger in 2010. For Butler, who never stopped making music since Digable Planets released its classic record Blowout Comb, Shabazz Palaces is his latest platform for experimentation.