they were not the first to synthesize jazz and hip-hop, Digable
Planets epitomized the laid-back charm of jazz hipsters better than
any group before or since.
The trio's 1993 debut album, Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time
and Space), was a mellow ride packed with samples from Art Blakey,
Sonny Rollins, and Curtis Mayfield, and the single "Rebirth of Slick
(Cool Like Dat)" became a Top 20 pop hit.
After embarking on an ambitious tour, which included several live
musicians, the Planets returned in late 1994 with their best album
yet. Blowout Comb continued the group's jazz-rap fusion,
but also saw them branching out to embrace the old school sound
of the street as well.
Digable Planets formed in the early '90s, when Butterfly
(b. Ishmael Butler, Brooklyn, NY) met Ladybug (b. Mary Ann Vieira,
Silver Springs, MD) while attending college in Massachusetts. The
two later hooked up with Doodlebug (b. Craig Irving, Philadelphia,
PA), in Washington, D.C., and began recording.
Their first single, "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)," released
on the Pendulum subsidiary of Warner, hit the R&B Top Ten while
their debut, Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space),
was a critical and commercial success.
Digable Planets' resulting tour had a laid-back vibe more
in keeping with a jazz show than any hip-hop concert, though the
live musicians were criticized for doing little more than re-creating
samples from the album.
The trio solved that problem with the release of their second album,
Blowout Comb, in late 1994. Much stronger than its predecessor,
it used fewer samples and even included several solos; with no strong
single to carry it, however, Blowout Comb's sales performance was
not up to that of Reachin'. After Blowout Comb, Digable Planets
basically dissolved due to the dreaded "creative differences".