Shabazz Palaces Marries Afrofuturism with Hip-Hop

Shabazz Palaces play The Ritz in San Jose and the Chapel in San Francisco

Shabazz Palaces play The Ritz in San Jose and the Chapel in San Francisco (Photo: Courtesy of Noise Pop)

Shabazz Palaces (Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire) makes music that sounds like what might happen if Sun Ra played hip-hop. Afro-futurist and socially conscious, the duo’s songs are also just plain weird. Butler’s a former member of Digable Planets, among the most influential early hip-hop bands; my co-host this week, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, says he loves Shabazz and has an aesthetic debt to repay to Butler.

“I was raised on a bunch of writers,” Marc says, “from Toni Morrison to Sonia Sanchez to George Orwell to Alice Walker, but the writers who most shaped my literary sensibilities were MCs like KRS-ONE, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and folks in the Native Tongues crew. The group that really brought it all together for me at a critical moment of my life was Digable Planets with the song ‘La Femme Fetal,’ basically the cut that made me think I could be a poet too.” Perhaps Butler and Shabazz Palaces will inspire you too. They perform at the Ritz in San Jose on Feb. 20, and at the Chapel on Feb. 21 as part of Noise Pop; details here. 

Shabazz Palaces Marries Afrofuturism with Hip-Hop 7 February,2018Cy Musiker


Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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