Statewide hip-hop talents are beginning to be recognized for the skill level and ability to make music that upholds industry standards and excites the eye and mind of the mass consumer. Seattle in particular which has often been viewed as the 'backpacker' hip-hop capital for some time now because of acts like the Blue Scholars. 'Backpacker' meaning there is some type conscious content that speaks to social structure, political bias, or worldly events in some capacity and waxes poetic about hip-hop cultural traditions. Macklemore was once one of the names you would associate with the Seattle 'backpacker' scene until his pop album (The Heist) that vaulted him over the wall that still stands as a barrier for most of the word driven lyricist in the Northwest.

Shabazz Palaces has been one of few artists that has been able to teeter on the ledge of that metaphoric wall because he is just that - an artist, a visual artist as well as prolific writer. So much of an artist that Northwest indie label SUB-POP, who had managed to keep themselves out of the rap race, decided Shabazz was eclectic enough not to get lost in a genre that is currently producing more acts then the glam rock and punk eras combined. Everybody is a rapper. But Shabazz's visual aesthetic conquers all things weird and indie easily. One video shot on a dolly track and flipped upside down in the editing process has been referred to as a short film (not a music video) but after watching one you'll quickly agree they all seem to have a short film feeling. There is as much of a story in the videos as there is in the music - except neither is telling the same story. Instead it is two separate stories that parallel for miles but eventually meet at the road's ending. His latest work is no different, animated videos are a current trend for the artsy side of hip-hop acts and Shabazz shows them precisely how things should feel/look without the help of creative collectives like Noisey or Mass Appeal. 


Perris WrightComment