A beginner’s guide to Digable Planets
When their debut album Reachin’: A New Refutation Of Time And Space was released in 1993, hip-hop trio Digable Planets established an aesthetic that was a unique whole, greater than the sum of its parts.
Fusing hip-hop with jazz sampling, Black Panther-informed Marxism, and a slick, surrealist approach to lyricism, Butterfly, Ladybug Mecca, and Doodlebug were an idiosyncratic act to say the least. By the time their sophomore follow-up Blowout Comb was released in 1994, the group had molded their heady, colorful sound into a sharp revolutionary spear. With songs like “Black Ego,” “Blowing Down” and the album’s booming lead single “9th Wonder (Blackitolism),” Blowout Comb was like a beautifully cooled-out insurrection. Imagine George Jackson’s Blood In Me Eye narrated by The Watts Prophets and scored by Roy Ayers’ Ubiquity. Despite winning mass critical acclaim and a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group, Digable Planets broke up one year after Blowout Comb hit shelves.
After a few short-lived reunions, Digable Planets got back together for a now legendary two-evening run at the Ardmore Music Hall in July of 2016. These shows were documented on the album Digable Planets Live. Running through a tight, energetic set full of classics picked from their two studio albums, Digable Planets Live it proof that the trio’s crowd work, interplay and chemistry is still intact over two decades since their debut.
On February 23rd, Digable Planets make their return to The Ardmore Music Hall for a headlining show with flamboyant philly funk-rockers Johnny Popcorn. Hosted by hip-hop legend Lady B, the evening promises to a fly, lively affair.
Digable Planets play Ardmore Music Hall on Sunday, February 23rd, at 7 p.m.; Johnny Popcorn opens the show, and tickets / info can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.