Shabazz Palaces Brings Experimental Hip-Hop To NPR Music’s ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ Series

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series has gone from a fun little oddity to a necessary promo stop for all of your favorite artists. But while the unorthodox venue has gone a bit mainstream, they still make the stage equal opportunity, from the top tier to the decidedly indie. This week’s edition brings the experimental hip-hop of Shabazz Palaces into the fray. The Seattle-based collective rolled into the NPR offices and occupied Bob Boilen‘s desk for a three-song set that took the Tiny Desk audience straight on through to the other side.

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The group kicked things off on an ethereal tip, with Palaceer Lazaro (aka former Digable Planets member Ishmael Butler) leading things off with salutations and taking the audience on trip back to 2014’s Lese Majesty with “Colluding Oligarchs.” The trippy, political track set the tone for the session, with Palaceer being accompanied by Shabazz Palaces members Tendai Maraire and bassist Otis Calvin on the ghostly track. They kept it in the realm of Lese Majesty for “They Come In Gold,” an indictment of our current vain culture. They ended the set with “Shine A Light,” lifted from their current project Quazarz: Born Of A Gangster Star, giving shoutouts to Ish’s pops and the old heads before signing off to the applause of all in the room.

If you like your hip-hop with a side of experimentalism and a dash of black magic, then you don’t want to miss this. Check out Shabazz Palaces Tiny Desk performance below.

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