Back in April, Shabazz Palaces, the Seattle-Based arthouse hip-hop duo comprised of Palaceer Lazaro — aka Digable Planet’s Butterfly — and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, announced that they were releasing Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star, their first album since 2014’s Lese Majesty. A mere month later, they said that they were also putting out Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machine, a companion to the aforementioned record. Both records won’t be released until next Friday, but you can listen to them now in their entirety thanks to NPR Music.
Together, the two albums tell the tale of an alien creature visiting a strange planet where all its residents have a strange, almost sexual, dependence to their technology. We already had some idea of what to expect from these two new records since Shabazz Palaces put out multiple singles from both projects since they first said they were coming out with new material. Among these are the hazy and bass-heavy “Since C.A.Y.A.” (which features Thundercat), “Julian’s Dream (Ode To A Bad),” “When Cats Claw,” and “Effeminence,” tracks that unmistakably sound like nothing else you’ve heard before in hip-hop while still managing to be extremely accessible and catchy despite how trippy they are.