Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler first shook the national consciousness as one third of the Afro-centric hip-hop group Digable Planets. Combining snare-heavy, jazz-looping beats with deliberately opaque rhymes about the Nation of Islam, Butler was a pioneering figure in ’90s hip-hop. These days, the verbose thirty-something lives in Seattle and fronts avant-leaning collective Shabazz Palaces. Although currently signed to Sub Pop (the indie imprint that’s home to, among others, Fleet Foxes and J Mascis), Shabazz Palaces are as grimy as project hallways. Their best songs approximate the antisocial feel of an urban dystopia. Few hip-hop artists build and manipulate tension so... More >>>