Shabazz Palaces
Lese Majesty


3.5
great

Review

by RivalSkoomaDealer USER (22 Reviews)
July 25th, 2014 | 123 replies


Release Date: 07/29/2014 | Tracklist

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

Speaking with NPR recently, 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 result being one long, formless entity. “Dawn in Luxor” lulls the listener into a sort of euphoric trance. The weightless synths carry the listener gradually into the sonic equivalent of a cosmic 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 remain interesting throughout the duration of the record.

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 leaves the listener feeling as though they’ve ventured all the way into the stars and back.



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user ratings (81)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Pavel Sukany (5)
Outstanding sophomore LP created by one of the most forward thinking artist in music industry these ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
July 25th 2014


12196 Comments


*Boldly*

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

MalleusMaleficarum
July 25th 2014


14333 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeeeeaaaa buuuuuddyyyyyy

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 25th 2014


784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Streaming now on NPR.

Break out the psychedelics for this one, yall.

Digging: Danny Brown - Old

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 25th 2014


784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Calc!! Good catch.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 25th 2014


13139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

excited for this

Digging: Electric Wurms - Musik Die Schwer Zu Twerk

IronGiant
July 25th 2014


814 Comments


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

FourthDyke
July 25th 2014


365 Comments


can't jam until i get new headphones :[

CaptainDooRight
July 25th 2014


29146 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

black up is better

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

treeqt.
July 25th 2014


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

that is accurate

MalleusMaleficarum
July 25th 2014


14333 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ohhh snappppssss captain laid the smack down with that rating

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 25th 2014


784 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


30853 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: Prurient - Bermuda Drain

treeqt.
July 25th 2014


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

naturally

oltnabrick
July 25th 2014


30853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unknown Memory 2003 and Panopticon could top this tbh WHO KNOWS



only Jesus

Phlegm
July 25th 2014


4671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the middle drags but the tracks at both ends are piff

Digging: ##### - #####

oltnabrick
July 25th 2014


30853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first and last tracks are like top 10 songs this year

both of them tbh

ShitsofRain
July 25th 2014


5897 Comments


Panopticon was 2004

Digging: Anthony Shakir - Frictionalism 1994-2009

FourthDyke
July 25th 2014


365 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


12196 Comments


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

IronGiant
July 25th 2014


814 Comments


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



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