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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

January 11, 2010 at 10:58 AM

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Review refusal: Shabazz Palaces' stunning Neumos debut

Posted by Andrew Matson

Below is my broken, incomplete attempt at transcribing lyrics from the first Shabazz Palaces song ever performed in public for a Seattle audience. It's not on either of the Central District act's instant-classic "Shabazz Palaces" or "Of Light" micro-albums released last summer and, according to a cribbed setlist (also below), is called "Show Tonight." Main features are heavy synth stabs, the cleanest clap, and Ishmael Butler Palaceer Lazaro's sparkling gangster poetry. The above video has it all (in better quality than this, this, this, or this, though those are important, too) and also the hypnotizing intro.

I tried to write a review, and The Stranger's got a pretty good one — although it misses the cameo by Geechi Suede from Camp Lo, a collaborator from Lazaro's past life — but really, I don't have the words.

Post-show, everyone I talked to was stunned speechless. After months of no promotion, fake names, and hot, hushed word of mouth, months spent marinating with bizarre, superior product, it seemed the final trick in Shabazz Palaces' crazy anti-publicity scheme was to make sure nobody could say what they saw once they'd finally seen it.

Seattle, Washington, huh?

[Screams from the audience]

I heard it.

We gonna tell you a little story about where we come from, aight?

We say "safe to say"
We say "say that then"
The homie just got on the street before he came back in
He had a lick against the law, but he didn't win
Didn't school, stayed home, got some work and tried again

The '88 Monte Carlo with the shiny rims
Plus like Aristotle down in Kingston with your ??
Lickin' shots, let your bling hang, pop a bottle
F__k a cop, do your thang-thang, that's the motto
You say 23rd, Union, Jackson
Cherry Street, MLK, Rainier and Genessee
The young dudes and the old heads gangsterin'
Ballin' like John Wall, Wildcat, freshman year
Hustlin's cool, son, don't ever touch a basketball
Girls with that good jell-o, ooh we talk about it y'all
So cherish regal Sip Chivas Regal and and cheer for the criminals

It's time to jerk out
You know we bring the skirts out
When Ish get on his work out
The beat is getting murked out
Say hi to Tendai, that's right
Shabazz Palaces of light
Was you here tonight?

The world is ruthless
We juicy for the juices
To neutralize the useless
You don't f__k with us? Nooses
We like the boosters
Who funk up off that new s__t

I heard the rumors
But reals the most is bulls__t
But here go what the truth is
CD ni&&a, townbiz
Homie, I just clown kids
Diamond's what my style is
Style is where the crowd lives

Ain't s__t infamous
We pimp these Mac computers
The industry's a player made to play
Ni&&as is clueless
Can't you see you're just a clone with your homie
That your style's ain't gon' float me
'Cause you ni&&as so phony

Can't you see that when you player hate behind me
But you see me and you're on me
That it's you that is corny?
I had to holler at you
And let you know we stay on a pistol cloud and rap all razors

I'm raised on this rap s__t
F__k do you feel
Like when you had to have your own style and keeping it real

You f__kin' with the brightest, the excitest
Dougie, Tendai, Maineack and Vita
The whole town got invited
Ni&&as talk shit, ask 'em quick, "Punk bitch, was you there tonight?"

shabazz palaces dancer.jpg
Dancers flanked Shabazz Palaces for "Chuch"

shabazz palaces setlist.png
Set list courtesy Jeff Alberston

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