October 5, 2011

Black Up: Shabazz Places (2011)

Few hip-hop albums require the capacity for an appreciation of experimental psychedelia the way that 'Black Up' requires it. Let me rephrase that, this is the only hip-hop album that demands the listener to find the beat on his own.

This may be the moment that hip-hop has gone post-rap, post-Diddy, post-Master-P. One can hear the black-futurism of Detroit's Techno hemorrhaging through every hard-bop inspired beat.

The track 'Free Press and Curl' opens like many Animal Collective songs weaves through Afrika Bambaataa/Rusko,
and ends somewhere in experimental hip-hop-dubstep
land. Don't think that all of these vague and esoteric musical comparisons
render 'Black Up' un-listenable, quite an opposite effect occurs.

Just as John Zorn's The Circle Maker: Issachar holds
 that Jazz Swing with a string quartet referencing Arabic,
Klezmer and Jewish melodies, Shabazz Places manages
experimental music while maintaining that Hip-Hop Beat.
It's that Hip-Hop beat that continues from the last measure
to the next bar, that pulls at your muscles like the ___teer
behind Punch and Judy.

There are other groups preforming simalar work, but they usually lay
rapping over a dub-step beat (Zed's Dead and Omar Linx). Shabazz creates
a full song, one belonging to another, vocalization isn't just story telling it keeps the beat
and is subject to any modification by the rest of the group as is called for.

Listen to the whole album:

If you dig the group Shabazz Places as much as I do, check out Main Attrakinoz, Flying Lotus, Claims Casino, Themselves and Deep Purple Dynamics.  Don't be surprised if you get a lot of instrumental tracks, that just how a lot of experimental hip-hop seems to work. 

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