A couple of Late Passes are due, but it's worth noting that Shabazz Palaces percussionist Tendai Maraire has released a few new sounds over the past month independent of his SP group work. First, while catching up on the last webisode of "The Mezzanine" (a semi-regular Internet radio show/podcast put together by Seattle Times music writer Andrew Matson, The Stranger's Mike Ramos, The Stranger/KEXP's El Mizell, and Witch Gardens guitarist Casey Catherwood that you should be following if you like rap and staying hip), I was grabbed by new music by Chimurenga Renaissance, a song called "It's Bigger Than You" from an album slated to come out sometime in the future called Rise. Chimurenga Renaissance is the name for Maraire's new solo project, and "It's Bigger Than You" features a slick verse from SP bandmate Ishmael Butler. It's quite the departure for the duo, who trade in their trademark slinking beats and bob-and-weave rhymes for an uplifting, Maraire-produced song about overcoming obstacles. It'll be interesting to hear if the rest of the album is just as positive and direct, or if each song carries a different mood. Either way, listen to "It's Bigger Than You" here at 1:07.
The second bit of Tendai news came from a film score he did for The Stranger's Associate Editor Charles Mudede's recent artsy short film, "rhodZi!", which is "about the struggle (in the past and present) against all forms of European imperialism and white supremacy." He and Maraire hail from the same village in Zimbabwe, and the mbira-based songs mesh beautifully with the visuals. Watch "rhodZi!" below: