Black Up - Shabazz Palaces
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 40
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 40
  3. Negative: 4 out of 40

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  1. Jun 28, 2011
    What the hell? I am so so in to this, yet so disturbed and yet... so intrigued. Great songs. Great ambience. This is the type of stuff that probably goes on inside the cells of LSD.
  2. Jun 30, 2011
    A breath of fresh air into the realm of hip hop. This album is not only one of the most original hip hop albums released in the past decade, but possibly the best overall album of the year. These songs contain immense layers and constantly take unexpected turns, resulting in a stimulating listening experience even after repeated listens. Don't be surprised if this is on every music blog's top 5 list come December. Expand
  3. Jun 30, 2011
    Without any hype or press, Ish puts out the best hip-hop album of 2011. The production is crazy. It sounds kinda wonky with maybe some roots in dubstep, but ultimately it sounds like nothing else out there. It's a smart and contemplative album all being spat out from a likable and charismatic MC who doesn't even gather the spotlight because all of the elements just fit so well. This is a album for hip-hop enthusiasts, electronic music enthusiasts and all music enthusiasts that are open for experimentation and a possibly mind altering experience. Expand
  4. Jun 29, 2011
    instant classic. butterfly is back from the dead and flows as if he never left the game. this is genius and lord knows hip hop is once again going to be revolutionized by the flow of the impeccable ishmael
  5. Sep 2, 2011
    This **** is lost on me. I have tried to listen and find any assembalence of beat or rythem and cannot grasp the appeal. I liked 2 songs off the entire CD but these high marks are unwarrented and their is much better stuff available like The Weekend or The Throne
  6. Jul 18, 2011
    Shabazz Palaces' 'Black Up' is without a doubt the best Hip-Hop of the album of the year so far (perhaps best album of the year), but it's too early to tell yet if it will hold this title in December. However, for now I'm really loving this album, it's quite refreshing to hear Hip-Hop sounding so direct and innovative.
    When it comes to Hip-Hop my interest is primarily in the 'beats' not
    the 'rhymes', One of my favourite Hip-Hop albums is The Beastie Boys' 'Paul's Boutique' precisely because of the excellent beats of The Dust Brothers. 'Black Up' is a Hip-Hop album which focuses on the beats, that isn't to say that the rhymes are in someway neglected, rather the use of experimentation and sampling is of such a good quality on this album that in many ways it dwarfs the rhymes. For instance, songs such as 'yeah you' with its distorted Jazz bass-line used to its full visceral effect and 'recollections of the wraith' with its beautiful female vocal loops utilise the subtly and the directness of the beats on 'Black Up'. That said this album still features a great vocal performance from Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, who isn't afraid to let the beats do the talking, but is still determined to command the listener's attention.
    Overall, this album is shaping up to be one of my favourite albums of the year and follows the reccent trend not in Hip-Hop music, but in the work of Electronic artists such as Flying Lotus, Samiyam and Gang Gang Dance. Shabazz Palaces have combined elements of these artists and channelled them through a Hip-Hop mentality in order to continue and develop this sound in a way that deserves admiration and recognition.
  7. Jul 22, 2011
    Pretty freaking fantastic. This album plays out like Outkast when you are robotripping. Spacey, mesmerizing, destructive, disassociative, near perfect.
  8. Sep 1, 2012
    A groundbreaking effort in the hip-hop genre.
  9. Jun 3, 2012
    If you want hooks or beats, look somewhere else. Interesting stuff, but also preachy without a well-communicated message...not a great combination. This is not the kind of hip-hop you play at parties or blast out your car stereo, it's for sitting down with a joint and a good pair of headphones.
  10. Aug 10, 2011
    This is a true CLASSIC album. I don't care if this album needs time to be considered classic, this is what I want to hear. Shabazz Palaces is able to mix jazz, synth, ambience and great lyrics into this genius album. I loved the little instrumental riffs and the great beats behind the rapping. The sound of the lyrics is also great. Shabazz has a way of having raw talent lyrically and a different (but still great) production style. Best album of 2011 and we're only just over halfway through the year.

    FAV TRACKS: The King's New Clothes Were Made By His Own Hands, Swerve...The Reeping of All That Is Worthwhile (Noir Not Withstanding)
  11. Aug 15, 2011
    awesome beats, awesome production overally, maginificent lyrics... many strong verses, music never been that cohesive. Butterfly show his geniality to mix and connect dubstep, jazz, african ethno music, funk and hip hop to best record of the year... At this time i feel that LP is best hiphop LP ever made
    i want more shabazz next year!
  12. Aug 20, 2011
    One of the year's best albums (along w/ the Weeknd's HoB & F'd Up's DCtL) and will most likely go down as a classic. Sonically awesome & forward moving with coool futuristic flows that improves with each listen. Another user mentioned Outkast in his review & that was actually one of my early thoughts when I heard this album - it kinda makes me think of Stankonia but w/o the "hits" which is prbly for the best. Either way it's a really great album that deserves to be heard by more people. It's unfortunate albums like this don't get more attention (and pathetic reviews from RS don't help). Well worth your time & money. Expand
  13. Sep 9, 2011
    The kind of alternative hip-hop record that deserves the name, genius lyrics and beats that both mimic, compliment and highlight them beautifully. The anonymous characters behind the album are the ones who deserve the real attention.
  14. Dec 3, 2012
    I'm a big hip hop head and I bought this album because it was recommended at a local cd store. To put it nicely, I found it relatively awful. It would be a stretch to say I really liked any of the songs on the album. Simply making noise doesn't count for music in my book. Complete waste of money.

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Mar 13, 2012
    Shabazz Palaces created an album that is deep, dense, cryptic, hypnotic, and beautiful in its own freaky way.
  2. Nov 22, 2011
    In the category of great rap reinventions, file it next to Daniel Dumile's post-KMD rebirth as MF Doom and Ultramagnetic's MC Kool Keith re-training as Dr. Octagon. [Aug. 2011, p. 94]
  3. Aug 15, 2011
    Reborn as Palaceer Lazaro in Shabazz Palaces, the rapper still waxes poetic with the old boho bounce as he lounges in the club or decries the evils of American culture.