Born on a Gangster Star came into the world in a big damn hurry, like nightfall on an island. You can see it happening, but then again it’s so gradual that the next thing you know—it’s dark.
Imbued with the energy and ideas from all the creative embers floating in the atmosphere like fireflies, Shabazz Palaces recorded this entire album over the course of two weeks with Blood in Seattle. New gear and new equipment disintegrated comfort zones into dust and a new path appeared in the ashes.
Herein the Palaceer continues the tale of Quazars, a sentient being from somewhere else, an observer sent here to Amurderca to chronicle and explore as a musical emissary. What he finds in our world is a cutthroat place, a landscape where someone like him could never quite feel comfortable amidst all the brutality and alternative facts and death masquerading as connectivity.
Inspired by days on end spent in the waves—water and light, both—of Southern California, the work came to the Palaceer in a flash, like being picked up by something and carried. Always dribbling with his head up, he can see what’s going on around him and react to it, rather than starting in a certain direction and hoping to achieve something upon arrival.
What’s good?—the kids ask. What does it even mean, and what does it even matter? Who is behind these choices? We are all of us sitting under a waterfall of all. this. shit. but it’s the excess that is casting us into ruts.
The Palaceer stays away from the fleeting and the superficial nonessential. Stay away from your device—your phantom limb—and stay away from your image—your phantom self; that is his decree. Considering the motions behind the things you like to consume artistically, rather than just the way something looks or sounds, and thinking in layers, and trying to be more considerate and not so self-oriented—this is his medicine for combat.
Born on a Gangster Star flirts with a pop sensibility, but through the prism of Shabazz Palaces’s fire and fury. For the Palaceer, that sense is all about how the groove is moving, and the supernatural telepathy that occurs amongst his cohort. Appearing here, in body or in spirit, are Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Darrius Willrich, Gamble and Huff, Loud Eyes Lou, Fly Guy Dai, Stu Levine & The Jennings Sisters, Thaddillac, Ahmir, Jon Kirby, Sunny Levine, and Blood. The story belongs to Quazarz, but the air and darkness belong to us.
And so we shine a light on the fake.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, 21-year-old rapper, singer and producer Haleek Maul was sent to the tropical island of Barbados at a young age to attend school and be raised outside the city.
Inspired by the sounds that filled his childhood environment, he began creating music while in secondary school, and what started off as innocent rhyming and mimicry of his favourite artists became an obsession which led him to pursue production and greater musical exploration.
Formative influences on his style include Vybz Kartel, Damon Albarn, Aphex Twin, Tricky, Crystal Castles and Kanye West, as well as visual artists like Araki, Kenneth Anger and Chris Cunningham.
Haleek Maul first surfaced in 2012 aged just 16 with the Oxyconteen EP. An album with Chicago production duo Supreme Cuts titled Chrome Lips followed, plus collaborations with Ryan Hemsworth, Le1f, Black Noise and others. After a short hiatus in order to complete his studies, Maul - now 21-years-old - has been back in the studio and will be releasing his first EP on Lex in May.
At only 21 musician and Hackney native amahla has tapped into an era before her time to create a unique vintage soul sound.
Having nurtured her voice under the mentorship of the Roundhouse as a Resident Artist and her songwriting as a finalist for Carla Marie Williams’ (Songwriter: Beyonce, Britney Spears) GirlsIRate songwriting competition, amahla is out to create modern classic records.
Old Soul is the lead single from amahla’s debut EP a commentary on growing up in a politically manic world. A recent graduate of UCL with a 1st for her thesis on African American brutality, amahla’s politics is tightly wrapped up with her vivid lyrics and intricate melodies.
In ‘Old Soul’ amahla presents a homage to her greatest musical idols, from Billie Holiday to Stevie Wonder who also shaped the politics of their times.
amahla is active in the live music scene having performed at the Roundhouse multiple time. amahla also made her Jazz Cafe debut in May 2018.
Having reached #1 spot on Radio 1Xtra’s EP of the Week with the track ‘Red Honey’ alongside rapper Shunaji. amahla has already been named as one to watch. Following this, amahla supported Shunaji and the legend Bahamadia at her sold out Jazz Cafe show.
"Old soul is a thank you to a selection of the legends of soul music that I draw influences from. During their time there wasn’t a choice about whether to let their politics seep into their music, it just was. They all gave more to the world than their music and I can only aspire to do the same"