Black Up - Shabazz Palaces
Black Up Image
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: The Seattle-based project, including Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets, is Sub Pop's first hip-hop signing.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Jun 28, 2011
    100
    A killer second act.
  2. Play loud. I can't speak to the listening practices of the post-illbient beatmakers whose tricks Palaceer Lazaro gathers together and improves on like he's just been waiting for the go-ahead from Tricky himself.
  3. Jun 28, 2011
    88
    Like on that grand finale the production on Black Up is meticulous but furtive, always pushing forward, often unwilling simply to loop. And Butler's rapping sounds perfectly at home in this sometimes chaotic environment, kicking it amidst the kinetic verve of his beats.
  4. Jun 27, 2011
    80
    Black Up, their full-length debut, connects black consciousness with the dark mysteries of deep space, synthesising tribal drums, kalimba and African inflections with fragmented beats and eerie, futuristic synths.
  5. Jul 5, 2011
    80
    Black Up is a wild ride, but Butler's songwriting is not haphazard. To be sure, his laid-black flow channels a vibe similar to the who-cares attitude of those on the opposite side of the left-field hip-hop divide, but don't let that fool you; his music is weird, but it's also deliberate.
  6. 70
    Black Up is best digested as a whole rather than tune by tune.
  7. 60
    Themes of lust, power politics and rebellion are smuggled in via unusual locutions, de-synchronous beats and treated sample-loops – interesting stuff, though occasionally one yearns for a decent tune.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Jun 30, 2011
    10
    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
  2. Jun 28, 2011
    10
    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. Expand
  3. Jun 30, 2011
    10
    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. Collapse
  4. Aug 20, 2011
    9
    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
  5. Sep 1, 2012
    9
    A groundbreaking effort in the hip-hop genre.
  6. Sep 9, 2011
    9
    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. Expand
  7. Dec 3, 2012
    0
    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. Expand

See all 14 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. The Freshman 15: 2011's Best Debut Albums

    The Freshman 15: 2011's Best Debut Albums Image
    Published: December 6, 2011
    Which new artists impressed critics the most in 2011? Find out inside, where we rank the 15 best-reviewed debut albums of the year.
  2. 2011 Music Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 7]

    2011 Music Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 7] Image
    Published: November 29, 2011
    Between now and January, we'll be collecting top 10 lists published by major music critics, publications, and websites, and tallying their cumulative picks to determine the best albums of 2011. Check back here daily to get an updated scorecard.
  3. Midyear Report: The Best Music of 2011 So Far

    Midyear Report: The Best Music of 2011 So Far Image
    Published: July 6, 2011
    With half of 2011 in the books, it's time to check on the year's best music so far. And which album tops our chart so far? It won't cost you anything to find out.
  4. June's Best New Music

    June's Best New Music Image
    Published: June 30, 2011
    The past month's best new albums include the sophomore set from Bon Iver and the debut from Sub Pop's first hip-hop signing. Find out more about June's best releases and listen to tracks from each one.