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Ishmael Butler

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Name  Ishmael Butler

Role  Musician
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Born  July 3, 1969 (age 46) Seattle, Washington, United States (1969-07-03)
Occupation(s)  Rapper, musician, songwriter
Associated acts  Digable Planets Shabazz Palaces
Music groups  Shabazz Palaces (Since 2009), Digable Planets
Genres  Hip hop, Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop
Albums  Black Up, Reachin' (A New Refutatio, Lese Majesty, Blowout Comb, Beyond the Spectrum: the Crea
Similar People  Ladybug Mecca, Doodlebug, King Britt, Vox Mod, Jesse Thorn

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Ishmael "Ish" Butler (also known as Butterfly and Palaceer Lazaro) is an American hip hop musician and rapper, known for his work with such groups as Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces.


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Early life

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Butler, who is a native of Seattle, was born in 1969. His father is a history professor at the University of Virginia. He first forayed into music by playing the alto saxophone in his middle-school jazz band. In 1987, he graduated from Garfield High School and moved to Massachusetts to enroll in college.


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In 1989, Butler dropped out of college and moved to Brooklyn, where he recorded a demo of hip hop tracks, which was eventually delivered to the Pendulum Records executive Ruben Rodriguez. In 1992, Butler auditioned to Pendulum Records with his friends Craig Irving, from Philadelphia, and Mary Ann Vieira, from Washington, D.C, forming Digable Planets. Digable Planets' 1992 single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" achieved an commercial and critical success, charting on Billboard Hot 100. Known for merging hip hop with jazz and philosophical lyrics, the group has released two albums before disbanding in the mid-1990s. Following Digable Planets' demise, he recorded music under the alias Cherrywine and took film classes at New York University. In 2003, he returned to Seattle to take care of his mother.

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In 2009, Butler formed Shabazz Palaces with his neighbor Tendai Maraire. After self-releasing two EPs, the duo signed to Sub Pop Records, releasing its debutput out their debut album, Black Up, in 2011. Its follow-up, Lese Majesty, was released in 2014.

Butler also became a member of Sub Pop’s A&R team in 2013.

Personal life

Butler has a son named Jazz Butler, who raps under the name Lil Tracy, from a previous relationship with Coko Clemons, the lead singer of SWV.


Ishmael Butler Wikipedia

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