Earlier this year, we named Shabazz Palaces one of the ten best local albums of the year thus far, and while this video is set in Watts, Los Angeles, it's still a fantastic look for local hip-hop. The premise of the video is just as ambiguous as Shabazz Palaces itself--with its minimal descriptors and stream-of-consciousness sounds-- but director Kahlil Joseph elevates the music to create a gorgeous, gravity-defying narrative, an allusion to the barely-known cinematic milestone Killer Of Sheep, also set in Watts. Shabazz Palaces is spearheaded in part by hometown hero Ishmael Butler, and while the project as a whole isn't as immediately palatable as the work from Ish's other, more famous project, Digable Planets, it's worth exploring due to the sheer experiment of it. If more now-classic hip-hop artists were more daring in their collaborations and plumbing their creative depths to bring equally challenging musical offerings forward, it would propel and sharpen the sonic culture that too frequently resigns itself to autotune and vanity.
But if Shabazz Palaces is too out-there for you, hopefully you didn't miss Ish's turn in Jake-One's video "Home", where he strolls the streets of the Central District with the same breezy swagger he brought to Digable's work. On a fairly related note, keep your ear to the ground for a video currently in the works by the same director, Zia Mohajerjasbi, and Macklemore, who made a cameo in "Home," that will also make a tribute to Seattle and its hip-hop legacy.