The Don of Diamond Dreams

Shabazz Palaces - The Don of Diamond Dreams
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2020 Ratings: #423 / 606
User Score
Based on 154 ratings
2020 Ratings: #986
Liked by 4 people
April 17, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Sub Pop / Label
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Loud and Quiet

The Don of Diamond Dreams push further out into cosmic sounds feels like a retort to ‘90s boom-bap traditionalists who rip on changing fashions out of bitterness.

The Line of Best Fit

The Don of Diamond Dreams has plenty of mass appeal regardless of its unconventional style, but still Butler entices us just enough by adding bits of flair to its top tracks.


‘The Don Of Diamond Dreams’ is a glorious album that yields more and more with each listen. And listen you need to, because if you don’t you might miss something.

Spectrum Culture

The Don of Diamond Dreams feels a lot like Kendrick Lamar’s excellent, muscular DAMN. – a deceptively-simple, but ultimately brilliant and inventive, turn for the rapper, capable of seeming more grounded, but failing to be anything but.


What’s fascinating about Shabazz’s new album The Don of Diamond Dreams is the degree to which Ish seems to be learning from the new generation.


Almost ten years on and Shabazz Palaces are still pushing their own boundaries and any barriers or restrictions set by defined genres.


Compared to SP's conceptual third and fourth LPs, which arrived together in 2017, The Don of Diamond Dreams is unified by its funkier and humanized sonics more than its lyrics.

The Young Folks

Throughout Don of Diamond Dreams, the musical production underneath any vocals is often far more interesting than what stories are being told.


Despite ending on a yawn, Diamond Dreams is immersive and solidifies Shabazz Palaces’ stature as one of the few hip-hop projects to emerge in the 2010s and create a wholly distinctive genre unto itself.

The Guardian

Divided between familiar territories and intangible unknowns, Ishmael Butler proves fascinatingly elusive on this uneven record.

Beats Per Minute

The Don Of Diamond Dreams doesn’t represent some kind of point of no return, but it has enough stumbles to warrant concern.


The central problem with this record, however, is that ‘loose’ and ‘laidback’ can turn into ‘lethargic’ and ‘forgettable’ pretty quickly.

Seriously, what the entire fuck is going on? What was once on of the most forward thinking Hip-Hop groups in Experimental music, are now just some people who are a parody of their former selves. Get it together Ishmael and friends. You know its bad when your son Lil Tracy is making better music than you.
The Don of slow slip-sliding into obscurity - what happened?

So... why does this suck so much? This form of ‘ambient hip-hop’ could work in some instances, whether that’s been created yet is up for debate, but this ain’t it chief. Nothing good worth talking about or redeeming except one track, as the rest feels distastefully catatonic, despondent, sleepy. A snooze fest.

Color: White
FAV TRACKS: Fast Learner
LEAST FAV: Thanking the Girls, Wet, Chocolate Souffle, Bad Bitch Walking
It feels like a stretch to even call The Don Of Diamond Dreams a hip hop album, as the psychedelic, abstract and cryptic sound just kind of makes it stray away completely from the genre, and on that merit I somewhat appreciate this album. Shabazz Palaces' strange and once again cryptic style of hip hop has been something that's always intrigued me, which is what made me want to hear this album. And while there are some tracks I thought were quite nice and I do admire the cosmic sound of it all, ... read more
Too sluggish to be fun and too repetitive to keep my interest, "The Don of Diamond Dreams" is a hugely disappointing romp in a discography that I'm actually quite interested to do a deep dive into. There are maybe one or two tracks that are passable and there are a few cool instrumental flourishes, with a guitar or saxophone solo here or there, but the sonic direction they take here is so dull and languid that I question if they even put any forethought into this sound.

Fav Tracks: ... read more
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Track List

  1. Portal North: Panthera
  2. Ad Ventures
  3. Fast Learner (feat. Purple Tape Nate)
  4. Wet
  5. Chocolate Souffle
  6. Portal South: Micah
  7. Bad Bitch Walking (feat. Stas THEE Boss)
  8. Money Yoga (feat. Darrius)
  9. Thanking the Girls
  10. Reg Walks By the Looking Glass (feat. Carlos Overall)
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Added on: February 26, 2020