|1||Portal North: Panthera|
|6||Portal South: Micah|
|7||Bad Bitch Walking|
|9||Thanking The Girls|
|10||Reg Walks By The Looking Glass|
It remains impossible to accurately describe a Shabazz Palaces album without lapsing into cosmic tropes. Yet sometimes clichés are stand-ins for eternal truths. Therein, The Don of Diamond Dreams embodies a futuristic manifestation of ancient myth, full of robotic vocoder and warped auto-tune, Funkadelic refracted into different dimensions, weird portals and warm nocturnal joy rides alongside the coast (a reflection of it being mixed near the beach in California). The synthesizers are alien but the drums speak a universal language. It is hip-hop, dub, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, African, experimental, and occasionally even pop. But over the course of five albums, Shabazz Palaces have conceived the fluid boundaries of their own one-band genre.
Even though the construction of the album is meticulous, it’s a startling masterpiece of improvisation and instinct. It’s both cerebral and automatic, with Butler jotting down phrases and ideas in his phone and eventually shaping them into amorphous abstract expressionist canvasses. If anything, their latest illustrates Butler’s gift for being a conduit of sounds and experience. It’s partially shaped by his own reflection on being a parent and watching his son, Jazz, become internationally renowned as the artist, Lil Tracy. If you listen closely, you can hear the interplay between father and son, as Butler does what is impossible for most veteran artists: he absorbs the sounds of today’s youth, but filters it through his own fractured lens, spitting back convex poems with wild cadences, freestyling with the wisdom of age and the frenetic passion of someone still trying to show and prove. It’s confident and suffused with the thing that defines almost all great art: the willingness to risk attempting something new.