Acclaimed Seattle hip-hop shamans Shabazz Palaces, who treated us to a marathon gig in 2015, are returning in October – this time not just with one new record, but a double album of fresh material! They’ll be joined by young Iranian rapper Naji, who is continuing his promising musical career, started on the illegal Iranian hip-hop scene, as an asylum seeker in Ljubljana.
During their first visit to Šiška, Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire, better known as Shabazz Palaces, probably would have played until the thrilled crowd finally let them leave, but after more than two hours on stage, they simply ran out of material. This time around, there’s no fear of that happening – the duo surprised fans with the July release of not just one new record, but a double album, Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines, which tells the tale of a “sentient being from somewhere else” in the duo’s typical Afro-futuristic manner. The brilliant avant-garde rap release features guest appearances from Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Thundercat, Thaddillac and others.
The uniqueness of Shabazz Palaces is evident from the fact that they’re one of cult Seattle label Sub Pop’s few hip-hop signees, as well as the fact that Butler is a member of legendary alternative hip-hop trio Digable Planets. With their ground-breaking first two albums, Black Up and Lese Majesty, the pair won over critics and landed high on various end-of-the-year best-of lists, with The Stranger even declaring them the voices of hip-hop’s future. They’ve collaborated with Battles and Flying Lotus, among others, while Mladina best summed up their convincing stage presence with this snippet about the above-mentioned concert: “When over two hours aren’t enough for the audience or the band, it’s more or less clear that the concert was great.”
Iranian Naji established himself on his illegal local hip-hop scene with politically charged lyrics and a growing internet fanbase, but quickly found himself under the watchful eye of the Iranian government, which prohibits hip-hop and Western music in general. Following imprisonment, he fled the country in 2015. Now living in Slovenia as an asylum seeker, he continues to make music, including collaborations with local musicians such as N’toko, and will be releasing his new album Cherk this autumn.
Organisation: Kino Šiška.