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Shabazz Palaces Link Up with Thundercat on “Since C.A.Y.A.”

Enough juice to keep us bopping around astral realms for the whole summer.

by Patrick Lyons

Last fall, four of the most forward-thinking minds in the hip hop/electronic/funkosphere converged, and it seemed like the most logical destination for all of their careers. Producer Flying Lotus, bass virtuoso Thundercat, and avant-rap duo Shabazz Palaces joined forces under the name WOKE, and along with guest vocalist/svengali George Clinton, shared “The Lavishments of Light Looking” as an Adult Swim Single last September. Though they’ve recorded more material (per FlyLo), we have yet to hear any more of it, but today we’ve got the next best thing: a new track from 3/4ths of the group.

Whereas Thundercat and FlyLo have been collaborators and labelmates since 2010, the bassist had never worked with Shabazz Palaces until WOKE, but now that partnership continues on a new cut from one of SP’s two upcoming albums. “Since C.A.Y.A.” is the intro track on Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star, which along with Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines, is out on July 14.

The two tracks we’ve heard thus far from the dual releases, the soul-sampling “Shine A Light” and the cerebral diss track “30 Clip Extension,” are pretty orthodox by Shabazz standards, but “Since C.A.Y.A.” finds them at their most spaced-out and zooted. The groove is a wobbly, detached 6/8 waltz, around which Thundercat jitters and MC Ishmael Butler spazzes on some grandiosely psychedelic shit. He’s off a stamped passport with some cake batter gettin’ at it, he’s in Casablanca with Yeezys on his feet, he’s staring, empty-minded, at the full moon. In other words: your fave could literally never.

The two-part Quazarz saga is shaping up to be one of the year’s most adventurous, mind-expanding releases, and well worth the three-year wait it’s been since Shabazz Palaces’ last album. We’re still anticipating that WOKE album and the George Clinton Brainfeeder debut that was announced around the same time last fall, but Ish and Tendai Maraire clearly have enough juice to keep us bopping around astral realms for the whole summer.


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Patrick Lyons is a music writer based in Portland who is equally enthralled by black metal and Southern rap-- catch him making maddeningly eclectic choices on the aux cord.



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