Audio

Shabazz Palaces Return With 'Lese Majesty' LP + Stream 'They Come In Gold'

Experimental hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces announce new album 'Lese Majesty' to be released on July 29th on Sub Pop Records


It seems as though the excellent Chimurenga Renaissance project wasn't all that Seattle-based afrofuturists Shabazz Palaces had in store for us in 2014. Three years after the release of their triumphant debut Black Up, news of a sophomore LP from Palaceer Lazaro and Baba Maraire came as the experimental hip hop duo previewed the new album during a recent hometown appearance at the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome.  Their new record is titled Lese Majesty — a subtle anglicization of the French 'Lèse-majesté' (which translates to an attack on either a sovereign power or deeply rooted beliefs and customs). The album will be out on July 29th via Sub Pop. Update: Stream "They Come In Gold" off Lese Majesty and see the album's tracklist below via GvsB.

Shabazz Palaces 'Lese Majesty'

Suite 1: The Phasing Shift

01 Dawn In Luxor

02 Forerunner Foray

03 They Come In Gold

Suite 2: Touch & Agree

04 Solemn Swears

05 Harem Aria

06 Noetic Noiromantics

07 The Ballad of Lt. Major Winnings

Suite 3: Palace War Council Meeting

08 Soundview

09 Ishmael

10 Down 155th in the MCM Snorkel

Suite 4: Pleasure Milieu

11 Divine of Form

12 #Cake

Suite 5: Federal Bureau Boys

13 Colluding Oligarchs

14 Suspicion of a Shape

Suite 6: High Climb To The Gallows

15 Mind Glitch Keytar Theme

16 Motion Sickness

Suite 7: Murkings On The Oxblood Starway

17 New Black Wave

18 Sonic Myth Map For the Trip Back

(H/T The Stranger via Consequence of Sound)

Interview
Photo: Jolaoso Adebayo.

Crayon Is Nigeria's Prince of Bright Pop Melodies

Since emerging on the scene over two years ago, Crayon has carved a unique path with his catchy songs.

During the 2010s, the young musician Charles Chibuezechukwu made several failed attempts to get into a Nigerian university. On the day of his fifth attempt, while waiting for the exam's commencement, he thought of what he really wanted out of life. To the surprise of the thousands present, he stood up and left the centre, having chosen music. "Nobody knew I didn't write the exam," Charles, who's now known to afro pop lovers as Crayon, tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom call from a Lagos studio. "I had to lie to my parents that I wrote it and didn't pass. But before then, I had already met Don Jazzy and Baby Fresh [my label superiors], so I knew I was headed somewhere."

His assessment is spot on. Over the past two years Crayon's high-powered records have earned him a unique space within Nigeria's pop market. On his 2019 debut EP, the cheekily-titled Cray Cray, the musician shines over cohesive, bright production where he revels in finding pockets of joy in seemingly everyday material. His breakout record "So Fine" is built around the adorable promises of a lover to his woman. It's a fairly trite theme, but the 21-year-old musician's endearing voice strikes the beat in perfect form, and when the hook "call my number, I go respond, oh eh" rolls in, the mastery of space and time is at a level usually attributed to the icons of Afropop: Wizkid, P-Square, Wande Coal.

"My dad used to sell CDs back in the day, in Victoria Island [in Lagos]," reveals Crayon. "I had access to a lot of music: afrobeat, hip-hop, Westlife, 2Face Idibia, Wizkid, and many others." Crayon also learnt stage craft from his father's side hustle as an MC, who was always "so bold and confident," even in the midst of so much activity. His mother, then a fruit seller, loved Igbo gospel songs; few mornings passed when loud, worship songs weren't blasting from their home. All of these, Crayon says, "are a mix of different sounds and different cultures that shaped my artistry."

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