First, Ishmael Butler rapped as “Butterfly” in Digable Planets, a '90s jazz-rap group produced by King Britt — their 1993 single, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” won a Grammy. By the end of the 2000s, Butler quietly re-emerged as “Palaceer Lazaro” in the group Shabazz Palaces, a haunting, experimental hip-hip project signed to Sub Pop Records. Elements of soul, funk, and Afrofuturism echo throughout songs that can bleed into each other with no clear beginning or end. Radio-friendly, mainstream hip-hop this is not. Shabazz Palaces — which is Butler and Tendai Maraire — release a new LP, Lese Majesty, at the end of this month, which includes contributions from fellow Sub Pop rapper Catherine Harris-White of THEESatisfaction. Butler, who is tight-lipped with the press, issued a statement about the album, simply calling it a “series of astral suites of recorded happenings, shared.”
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