Shabazz Palaces: Black Up | Review

Artist: Shabazz Palaces
Album: Black Up
Year: 2011
Genre: Hip Hop


Right from the opening track “Free Press and Curl” this album grabs you, a heavily effect riddled beat opens gradually and goes in 3 different directions and grows as the song goes on, the first transition drops around 2 minutes and adds a melodic female vocal looping to the beat along with heavier electronic rendering, around 3 minutes the beat trails off and picks back up slowly with a more chilled out heavy bass sound. But enough about the beat, Shabazz has a unique flow and wordplay which matches all three settings nicely even during the hook which reminded me more of a purple rap track like those we’re hearing more and more of and I’m not taken on most.

Onto “An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum”, this might be enough to sell most people right here a reversed loop in the background make this one of the filthiest beats I’ve heard in a while and I was definitely feeling it. This is definitely a banger but comes to the table with a whole different feel than the traditional hot track on an album feel. This track also grows as the track goes on and transitions towards the end, this again does not take away from the sick entirety of the track. Shabazz again comes strong, call me crazy but the wordplay on this track reminded me somewhat of Vast Aire wordplay.


[quote]Probably closest to a hip hop beat “Are You… Can You… Were You?” heavy strings over piano make for a good combo, Shabazz’ hook on this one gets a little annoying but doesn’t disappoint on main verses.[/quote]


Next up “A Treatease Dedicated To The Avian Airess From North East Nubis (1000 Questions, 1 Answer)” it was like a ghetto love story by an astronaut on acid beat had a outta this world in a 1950s space movie feel to it. Definitely feeling this track.

“Youlogy” starts like an interlude for about 20 seconds before slapping you in the face with bass and hard lyrics. Takes a jazzy feel about halfway through, and finishes just as it started with a glitchy hard beat and more.

This track carries an interlude feel up until about the last quarter “Endeavors For Never (The Last Time We Spoke You Said You Were Not Here. I Saw You Though)”. Immagine jazz undertones and smooth smoke filled lounge singer vocals, although it’s not a track that Shabazz comes out on until the end still a sick track. The production on this album is definitely unique.

“Recollections Of The Wraith” opens with Shabazz droppin a quick verse over a drum sample and goes into what’s probably my favorite track on the album. It’s been driving me nuts what the samples from but reminds me of a slowed down distorted version of a 90s pop or rnb singer. This track suffers from what is the only downside to this album is the sometimes overly repetitive hooks but the beat and lyrics again save it from downplaying the overall feel.



A choppy start on “The King’s New Clothes Were Made By His Own Hands” was just enough to not take away from the track, and again the beat grows as the track goes on. The shortest track on the album at 2:07 this one seemed just right as it wasn’t necessarily a banger but a psychedelic journey track. The only thing I can recently compare this to would probably be Jeremiah Jae

Least favorite on the album “Yeah You” wasn’t necessarily a bad track but the distortion on the vocals was a little much for me. It sounded like he was under water with the heavy flanger effects. Other than that lyrics were fire like the rest of the album, and beat seemed a quicker pace which wasn’t a bad thing. Wish this were tossed in as a remix and there was an original without the flanger effect.

And wrapping up with “Swerve… The Reeping Of All That Is Worthwhile (Noir Not Withstanding)”, which in my opinion was a strong finish for the album. Beat which remains the same up until the end outro beat, is arguably one of the best on the album that showcases more female vocals and electronic effects. Lyrics are again spaced out, to some might be thrown off but I like the wordplay.

In closing you’re either going to love or hate this. I would recommend at least giving it a listen to figure out for yourself though.

Rating: 8/10

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