Digable Planets: Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (1993). Slick Reborn...32m | Feb 20, 2023
B. Cox looks back at hip-hop trio Digable Planet's debut album Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) as it turns 30. The Brooklyn-based group made up of emcees Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, Mariana "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira and Craig "Doodlebug" Irving met through what seemed to be fate in the late 80s. After signing to Pendulum Records in 1992, they began crafting their debut album under the production supervision of Butterfly and the likes of Shane "The Doctor" Faber and Mike "Lanching An Attack" Mangini.
Using the resources available to them in two makeshift studios in apartments, Butterfly and his cohorts utilized samples from jazz records exclusively, gleaning from Butler's father's collection of jazz records. What followed suit was a project filled with lively jazz notes and deep bass complimented by crisp drum patterns and percussion. This provided the landscape for the three emcees to spit lyrics based around politics, freedom, explorations of expression, black culture and fringe philosophical views with dexterity.
Over 57 smooth, yet captivating minutes, the trio developed a unique sound in a hip-hop year full of groundbreaking material. The album's lead single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" became a top 15 Billboard Hot 100 hit and is the group's signature song. It garnered the group a Grammy in 1994 for Best Rap Performance by A Duo or Group. The album was certified gold and served as the introduction to this unique trio that would have a successful, yet brief time in the spotlight.
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