Palaceer Lazaro, also known as Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, already does double duty, splitting time between the 90’s, jazzy, hip hop group Digable Planets and as the main man in another group, Cherrywine. His new album as Shabazz Palaces, Black Up is just as fresh and innovative.
Black Up gives off a mysterious vibe and commands the listener to give a contemplative, careful listen worthy of focus and undivided attention. The beats are smart yet unconventional. The vocals skip over what your ear wants to hear. Echos and tormented, faint screams haunt the background of the opening tracks and the wobble in the bass makes this album sound like dubstep with some trip hop sprinkled on top.
One of the most interesting facts about Black Up is that Lazaro has no album credits and he didn’t write any “thank yous.” Why not? What is the point of not naming people that have contributed to your album? Doing so would be the traditional and respectful thing to do. Instead of implying disrespect by not giving credit where credit is due, it is interesting that all parties that have contributed to this album are okay with Lazaro deciding to refrain from including credits. This is intriguing in an industry that is obsessed with shining light on who’s who. Lazaro must have a dedicated group of people behind him that fully support his efforts strictly for the love of the art. Either way, this album is a result of hard work and creativity and one can always respect an artist that strives to make something new and pushes the boundaries in music.