Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shabazz Palaces: Shabazz Palaces [Switchblade Music/Templar EP, 2009]
Rhyming dark and down over beats artier than Dilla's, the artist currently known as Palaceer Lazaro dares you to pin him down. Although the music is less peculiar than first appears, exotica guitar and group-hey-with-foghorn and looped-mbira-tunelet don't exactly shout street. Yet quietly but clearly, the rapper sticks to MC swagger, casual criminality, partying till you wild out, "a lot of hopes and wishes and dreams in here"--plus just enough cautionary reality to keep his ideology fresh. Think of him as a locally based documentarian--a "bright light on the dark side of town" with a cool hand on the dimmer switch. A-