Shabazz Palaces
Lese Majesty


3.5
great

Review

by RivalSkoomaDealer USER (18 Reviews)
July 25th, 2014 | 29 replies | 652 views


Release Date: 07/29/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lese Majesty boldly goes places where most hip-hop couldn’t even fathom.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

In a recent NPR interview Ishmael Butler, the mastermind behind hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces, addressed his intent with sophomore album Lese Majesty. “I like the concept of offending the dignity of a royal. But in this instance, it's like sort of a sonic attack on the "me-mania" that's sweeping over our culture of late. It's made for a less rich human experience. And it's seeped into the marketing of music, people really being more concerned about themselves " especially in the rap game, bragging about material things " rather than doing what I think music is really here to do: to unite people.” Though the group utilizes the theme of materialism aesthetically, such as on the faux shark –skin vinyl sleeve and purple wax pressing of the LP, the music itself continues to distance itself far beyond the norm of mainstream hip-hop.

Arranged into 7 different suites, Lese Majesty is the duos most ambitious project to date. The record takes the more spacey and ethereal soundscapes from Black Up and expands them into yet another psychedelic journey, this time into the furthest reaches of the cosmos. From start to finish the record plays out like a Jodorowskian sci-fi soundtrack. Lyrics are strung together with playful incoherence, with seemingly no apparent surface meaning on tracks like “They Come In Gold.” Often, the vocals are layered so densely over top one another or so gratuitously drenched in effects that deciphering what is being said becomes damn near incomprehensible. With several listens, it becomes apparent that whether the lyrics have any concrete meaning is largely irrelevant. Listeners may draw their own conclusions about the lyrical meaning behind the album. Lese Majesty is more about the experience, the feeling that you are exploring new realms beyond human comprehension.

The other half of Shabazz Palaces, multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire, often steals much of the spotlight. The effects driven nature of the album is the real driving force behind the record’s success. The overall album feels like one long, formless entity. “Dawn in Luxor” lulls the listener into a sort of euphoric trance. The synths on the song have a weightless feel to them that carries the listener gradually into the void. Samples such as the one used on “They Come In Gold” are as “out there” as they come, the overall track having a dense texture similar to many of Black Up’s more interesting sounds. Much of the record is merely interlude and admittedly some of Shabazz’s experiments don’t always pay off. Despite this, they never fail to at least pique the listener’s interest.

Lese Majesty boldly goes places where most hip-hop couldn’t even fathom. This album makes Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon albums feel like Bicentennial Man. Sub Pop continues to bring us both interesting and enlightening hip-hop and what has been some of the best albums from the genre this year. Shabazz Palaces taps a portion of the mind that may or may not be often explored and it leaves the listener feeling as though they’ve ventured all the way into the stars and back.



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user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
July 25th 2014



11967 Comments


*Boldly*

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

MalleusMaleficarum
July 25th 2014



13721 Comments


yeeeeaaaa buuuuuddyyyyyy

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 25th 2014



667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Streaming now on NPR.

Break out the psychedelics for this one, yall.

Digging: Electric Citizen - Sateen

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 25th 2014



667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Calc!! Good catch.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 25th 2014



11793 Comments


excited for this

Digging: Tenement - Taking Everything b?/?w Daylight World Plus 2

IronGiant
July 25th 2014



718 Comments


loved Black Up, how does this compare in terms of general quality?

FourthDyke
July 25th 2014



288 Comments


can't jam until i get new headphones :[

Digging: Unwound - Repetition

CaptainDooRight
July 25th 2014



28317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

black up is better

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

treeqt.
July 25th 2014



8984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

that is accurate

MalleusMaleficarum
July 25th 2014



13721 Comments


ohhh snappppssss captain laid the smack down with that rating

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 25th 2014



667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Its definitely not as good as Black Up but I loved most of what they were aiming for. Only complaint is that some of the interludes dont offer enough substance to be engaging. Definitely worth checking out still.

oltnabrick
July 25th 2014



30083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is potentially as good as Black Up tbh, its also the best hip hop album this year, nothing else really comes close.

Digging: Hello Kitty Suicide Club - ^_^

treeqt.
July 25th 2014



8984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

naturally

oltnabrick
July 25th 2014



30083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unknown Memory 2003 and Panopticon could top this tbh WHO KNOWS



only Jesus

Phlegm
July 25th 2014



3784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the middle drags but the tracks at both ends are piff

Digging: Wretched Excess - Away From This World

oltnabrick
July 25th 2014



30083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first and last tracks are like top 10 songs this year

both of them tbh

ShitsofRain
July 25th 2014



5544 Comments


Panopticon was 2004

Digging: Ben Sims - Fabric 73

FourthDyke
July 25th 2014



288 Comments


This is potentially as good as Black Up tbh, its also the best hip hop album this year, nothing else really comes close.



dumbest thing you've said in the 26 years i've known you

Calc
July 25th 2014



11967 Comments


L'Orange came out with something this year i doubt this is better than that.

IronGiant
July 25th 2014



718 Comments


your old droog is actually the best hip-hop album of 2014 but good try



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