It’s telling that one of the few intelligible lines in ‘The Mystery Of Lonnie The Døn’ is “razor blades“. Shabazz Palaces’ latest track is more an exercise in frightening bass and sound effects than a hip-hop song. The Seattle duo, made up of Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire, were last heard featuring on THEESatisfaction’s trippy ‘EarthEE’ in February, and this track is one of their strangest yet.
There’s never really an opportunity to gain a foothold. The intro is full of wispy, robotic vocal effects and distant bass and when Butler starts rapping, incessant clicking and whooshing electronics distract attention from his words. His verse gives way to whispered repetitions of “Dante” (presumably the titular figure) after which comes a heavy bass drop. It undulates slowly through the rest of the song like a giant breathing in and out, and things get freakier when Shabazz dribble high-pitched wailing sounds over more crackling bass. After one more cavernous drop it’s all over, fizzling out as spookily as it began.
As part of Adult Swim’s Singles Series the track is a one-off, but it hints that this most twisted of hip-hop groups are planning something extra weird for the follow-up to 2014’s excellent ‘Lese Majesty’.