Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2014 Ratings: #38 / 845
Year End Rank: #39
User Score
Based on 168 ratings
2014 Ratings: #134
July 29, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Sub Pop / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
Pretty Much Amazing

The production is closer to a Nicolas Jaar or James Blake than anything hip-hop is toying with at the moment. It’s innovative, it’s slippery, and it’s bound to piss off a lot of purists.

91
A.V. Club

Lese Majesty is Butler’s most extreme refusal of the hip-hop status quo, boasting erratic instrumentals and subtle shit-talk toward haters subverting the canon. 

90
The Line of Best Fit

It’s really quite beautiful. Comprised of seven “astral suites”, Lese Majesty feels closer to an electronic symphony movement than a conventional album. It’s also what makes it a “grower”. 

90
AllMusic

It's a shame that such a vanguard effort is weakened by a few clever and jokey interludes that don't warrant a return, but that just leaves Shabazz Palaces room for a proper masterpiece as the brilliant Lese Majesty is so very close.

90
Spin

Lese Majesty feels more now, than then. In mirroring and transcending the schizoid, rootless form of digital society, it's an attempt to help people cope with the culture.

90
musicOMH

The phrase Lese Majesty is exactly what you can expect: an album that is a facetious laugh at, an immersive soundscape of, and a beatific spit-in-the-face toward, traditions.

90
Slant Magazine
Monolithic and magical, the album exists in a fantastical space just outside the genre's usual perimeter, keeping its references odder and more compelling, crafting an inimitably consistent musical experience.
83
Consequence of Sound

The production and the layering — from the future tribal drums to the misty bass plucks and the pulsing guest vocals of THEESatisfaction’s Catherine Harris-White — is what people are going to connect with right away.

83
Entertainment Weekly

For their encore full-length, Shabazz Palaces let a little fresh air and whimsy slip into their dense mélange of whispered rhymes and slack-jawed space beats.

82
Pitchfork

The soul of Shabazz Palaces is pairing next-gen sounds with classic brass-tacks show-and-prove emceeing, and Lese Majesty tugs those extremes as far as they've ever been pulled; that it never shows signs of wear speaks to the strength of the bond.

80
The 405

I haven't heard anything like Shabazz Palaces before, in hip-hop or in any other genre. They're taking hip-hop in an odd, scary, innovative and exciting direction, and I like it.

80
Drowned in Sound

Lese Majesty has a real 'feel' to it, each song is perfectly placed to the next. It is a record to indulge in, one melting synth note at a time. 

80
Exclaim!

Lese Majesty has no hits to speak of, nothing you could easily extract and stick in a radio slot, which is kind of the essence of this album. It's a piece, an installation of sound and thought. 

80
NME

‘Lese Majesty’ is not a difficult record. It’s just one with the confidence to reject tired old models and build its own future logic, and the result is mysterious, spiritual, and funky as shit.

80
Tiny Mix Tapes
What a lovely sentiment, the Palaceer replies as we pass beside a whirling row of first-class seats, tray tables still secure in upright-and-locked position. What a pretty thought, this relativistic dogma. And as I shutter my eyes against the searing rush of air, I swear I feel just like a space traveler myself.
80
FACT Magazine

Shabazz Palaces deserve credit where it’s due for building their sound outward; if Black Up established their status as hip-hop outliers, then Lese Majesty solidifies their place in the pantheon of rap’s oddball geniuses. Long may they reign.

70
PopMatters

The celestial vocals of Palaceer Lazaro layered over exquisitely non-traditional production from Tendai Maraire make Lese Majesty one of the most unique projects of 2014. 

70
Rolling Stone

His dazzling feel for 21st-century psychedelia pushes this well past nostalgia tripping – and while the verbal abstraction gets thick, there's serious pleasure in plumbing it.

70
FasterLouder

Shabazz Palaces are certainly strange, and their willingness to strike out for new territory – even when it means abandoning things that worked for them in the past – is admirably ambitious.

60
The Skinny

At points, over-ambition causes them to lose focus, but at a sprawling 18 tracks, even the less invigorating moments drift by pleasantly.

60
DIY

This is a record that can pendulum swing from an ether-effect (‘Harem Aria’) to a romantic lull (‘Noetic Noiromantics’). There are no rules. That’s the point.

PreeMo
67
Ehh...it's decent; I don't really like the album structure here and most of the songs sound way more unfocused and somewhat stunted (compared to Black Up)...disappointing...
CheapandLethal
60
Fairly uninspiring
metacullen
91
Brilliant follow up to the album of the decade.
87
Excellent = 16
Great = 1-4, 6-7, 9-10, 12-13, 15, 17-18
Average = 5, 8, 11, 14
Bad = N/A
Trash = N/A

Some skips are not that good, very few standout tracks. Not as varied as their previous works, but Shabazz Palaces made another album filled with really good songs.
GPellizzon
89
"Lost inside a whirlwind"

Magical ride. Lyrically, it's no masterpiece. But the instrumental part... God is it amazing. For the first time ever, I got so amazed with the production in a hip-hop album that I completely ignored the lyrics.

GEMS:
I can't even remember which song was which, I was so stunned with the production that I didn't even bother getting to know the name of my favorites from this album
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Track List

Suite 1: The Phasing Shift

  1. Dawn In Luxor
  2. Forerunner Foray
  3. They Come In Gold

Suite 2: Touch & Agree

  1. Solemn Swears
  2. Harem Aria
  3. Noetic Noiromantics
  4. The Ballad of Lt. Major Winnings

Suite 3: Palace War Council Meeting

  1. Soundview
  2. Ishmael
  3. Down 155th in the MCM Snorkel

Suite 4: Pleasure Milieu

  1. Divine of Form
  2. #Cake

Suite 5: Federal Bureau Boys

  1. Colluding Oligarchs
  2. Suspicion of a Shape

Suite 6: High Climb To The Gallows

  1. Mind Glitch Keytar Theme
  2. Motion Sickness

Suite 7: Murkings On The Oxblood Starway

  1. New Black Wave
  2. Sonic Myth Map For the Trip Back
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Added on: May 6, 2014