Ishmael Butler is the mastermind behind avant-guard hip-hop act Shabazz Palaces and as he furthers his new work away from the iconic jazz-rap of his landmark '90s group Digable Planets, he invites us aboard his spaceship as he travels to the outer most parts of the cosmos where his mercurial raps find formidable homes away from the oversaturated mainstream. "Woke Up in a Dream" is the latest offering from Shabazz and features Butler's own son Lil Tracy as a virtuosic guest. Built around a cloudy haze of thick, dank, impermeable smoke, the rappers trade bars like they unpacked them from cases of tar. The beats are warped, dense, and deeply layered, making for some of the most complex and "out there" sounds we've heard from the group yet. Hip-hop may have just celebrated its 50th birthday, but Butler insists on pushing it even further into the future, creating the most abstract work imaginable and constantly challenging the notion of what hip-hop can be in our current state. Moving slow like molasses, the song oozes over glistening, icy synths before delayed 808s insert themselves into the stoned haze that lingers throughout the song. Reduced to a dramatic crawl, Butler still sounds confident and light years ahead, his cool and collected delivery sounding more direct and truthful than ever, inflicting his rhymes with purpose while still driving towards an ever-evolving future.
Robed in Rareness is out October 27.