The first hip-hop crew signed to the Sub Pop label, Shabazz Palaces is the brainchild of Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, although the Digable Planets member wasn’t so quick to admit it. In 2009, Shabazz Palaces released two EPs -- one self-titled, the other titled Of Light -- but Butler's name didn't appear on either. No promo shots, no social networking sites, no interviews, and no press releases were issued by the enigmatic, Seattle-based project, but that didn't stop the local press from throwing praise at these EPs, which hit much harder than Digable while retaining that forward-thinking wordplay. The EPs became favorites at the Sub Pop offices, too, and in 2010, the usually indie rock label signed the project, releasing their debut album, Black Up, in 2011. Next, it transpired that Tendai Maraire -- son of the famous mbira player Dumisani Maraire -- was responsible for most of the instrumentation on that record and that Shabazz Palaces was, in effect, a duo.
‘Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star’ and its simultaneously released companion ‘Quazarz Vs The Jealous Machines’ were both produced by Knife Knights (i.b e.b.) and mixed by Blood.
Quazarz came to the Earth from somewhere else, a musical ambassador from his place to ours. Somehow, through fire or through fury, the Palaceer of Shabazz Palaces caught wind of the tale and it is through his prism that we hear the story. Imbued with the energy and ideas from all the creative embers floating in the atmosphere like fireflies, Shabazz Palaces recorded this entire album over the course of two weeks with Blood in Seattle. New gear and new equipment disintegrated comfort zones into dust and a new path appeared in the rubble.
‘Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star’ flirts with a pop sensibility but through the prism of Shabazz Palaces’ fire and fury. For the Palaceer, that sense is all about how the groove is moving and the supernatural telepathy that occurs amongst his cohort. Appearing here, in body or in spirit, are Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Darrius Willrich, Gamble and Huff, Loud Eyes Lou, Thaddillac, Ahmir, Jon Kirby, Sunny Levine and Blood.