Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shabazz Palaces: Of Light [Switchblade Music/Templar EP, 2009]
Ishmael Butler surfaced as Digable Planets' Butterfly, briefly led the electrofunk CherryWine a decade later, and then sunk from view until the near simultaneous 2009 release of two illegibly documented alt-rap EPs--even determining Butler's involvement required investigative reporting. Lead track on the first promises both "ideology to go" and "attack of the funky clones," but until the be-what-you-are closer, the record delivers mostly clones or at least "clones," including Butler as raggamuffin and a rent-a-thug calling out such "drug pushers" as Osama, Bush II, and old-schooler Oliver North. Fortunately, when the funk is this deep and weird, replicas sound like singletons every time. A-