Shabazz Palaces - The Don of Diamond Dreams Music Album Reviews

Ishmael Butler, the MC of the futurist hip-hop duo, looks in a new direction for inspiration on his latest project: his own son, emo rapper Lil Tracy. 

Ishmael Butler and Tendai “Baba” Maraire of Shabazz Palaces have always been proud iconoclasts, consistently breaking ground in spaces once thought incompatible with hip-hop. They were among the few rap acts signed to Sub Pop; they were pretty much the only rap artists to ever perform at the avant-garde Big Ears festival in Knoxville. This adventurous spirit continues down the Butler family line with Ishmael’s son Jazz, aka Lil Tracy. It seems that Jazz’s work has had a profound effect on his father’s project; in recent interviews, Butler cites his own son as an influence.

As one of the original members of the GothBoiClique, Tracy is an important figure in the development of “emo rap,” and what’s fascinating about Shabazz’s new album The Don of Diamond Dreams is the degree to which Ish seems to be learning from the new generation. Like polarizing label mates clipping., Shabazz’s brand of “alternative” hip-hop is not so much opposed to the mainstream as it is reflective of it, absorbing tangents of influence from trap, Auto-Tuned R&B, chopped and screwed, and other variants. Their lyrics are often shaped by the hip-hop hegemony too, playing off Rap Caviar tropes and taunting the Top 40 with a tongue-in-cheek braggadociousness, the kind that lets you know that Butler is still the same MC who told us he was cool like that all those years ago.

On The Don of Diamond Dreams, the group absorbs and warps a different sonic palette than usual: listen for the loopy guitar solos on “Wet,” or the swaying riffs on “Bad Bitch Walking” and “Fast Learner.” That spectrum of influence is a new strand in their complex sound, but what surrounds it is very much classic Shabazz: glistening synth crystals on tracks like “Ad Ventures,” Maraire’s distinctive kick drum throughout, and a lyrical ode to the Divine Feminine (not their first) on “Thanking the Girls.”

The Shabazz project began a decade ago with Butler and Maraire searching for a place in the cosmos alongside their Afrofuturist inspirations; their discography has been a process of ascension, elevation, and spiritual expansion, from novice pupils to musical prophets. For years now, Shabazz Palaces have oozed a kind of creative wisdom, the type that can only come with age and years of lived experience, but The Don of Diamond Dreams demonstrates a sign of even deeper wisdom: living an entire life of your own, and realizing that there’s still value in learning and listening from the youth.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Shabazz Palaces - The Don of Diamond Dreams Music Album Reviews Shabazz Palaces - The Don of Diamond Dreams Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 27, 2020 Rating: 5


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