Seattle’s best rap export (fight me, Macklemore) Ishmael Butler has released a new video for his latest single ’20 Gear Science’ with his most recent project Shabazz Palaces. Shabazz Palaces recently became a solo project for Butler after multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire stepped away from the group in 2020.
Keeping with his Washington roots, Butler released Shabazz Palaces’ latest album The Don of Diamond Dreams on legendary independent label Sub Pop. Even the song’s video takes place in the unmistakably dreary woodland setting of Seattle, bringing the hometown video full circle.
The video has an entire narrative built around it. According to the video’s description: “While on vacation at their Baška hideaway retired Cantù basketball star Capricio ‘Prici’ Drogba and his girlfriend Glo Moonlit must deal with the strange interloper that has appeared down by the pool”. Butler appears as both Drogba and the pool boy, with the two swapping places inside and outside the house by the video’s conclusion.
It’s all very conceptual, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s familiar with Butler and his artistic proclivities. Ever since his days in the Digable Planets collective, Butler has been one of the most highly ambitious, highly progressive, and absolutely singular voices in hip hop. Now on his fourth decade of releasing music, age has done nothing to diminish Butler’s hunger or drive. He’s one of the most reliable figures in rap but remains underground enough to inspire a cult following rather than strong mainstream devotion. That’s fine because it allows him to be as weird and unique as he wants to be.
’20 Gear Science’ is set to be released on the upcoming rarities collection The Lost Vibes of Shabazz: The Skrilla Scrolls. ’20 Gear Science’ and previously released single ‘Mega Church’ were independently released on the project’s Bandcamp page.
Check out the video for ’20 Gear Science’ down below.