Shabazz Palaces Releases A Music Video for LP ‘Black Up’

Chul Gugich / December 2, 2011

Shabazz Palaces’ new video (don’t call it “promotional”) for their full-length debut album, Black Up, deals heavily in origins (of man, of hip-hop) and the subsequent descent of humanity, specifically as it relates to those of color.

We see shots of SP’s Palaceer Lazaro posted-up in the birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx, interspersed with jungle and ocean scenes: the earth as it existed before man. (Some would call it the Garden of Eden.) Slices of imagery and time are folded over each other: an abandoned warehouse in the Garden that could represent the erosion of the physical world, post homosapien arrival; a hog is bled-out and blow-torched in the face. (As allegory for the degradation of nature, or justice for crooked police? I prefer the latter.)

Finally, people come to rest, by natural causes or by life’s unfortunate trial, in the Garden. Flyover shots of black bodies motionless draped over eroded walls and jungle floor, along with a tribute to the late, great Gil Scott-Heron. As the video concludes, the camera settles on one final simulacra: man and woman (or better, partner and partner), leaning on one another in that other jungle, the city. The protagonist (in this case Palaceer Lazaro’s earthly incarnation, Ishmael Butler), finding comfort in the only true form of corporeal peace that exists: the touch of another human being.

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