The members of Digable Planets were the three friendliest insects in hip-hop and in many ways the purest followers of the jazz/hip-hop fusion that developed in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Beyond the Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles puts together what Ladybug, Butterfly and Doodlebug chose as the nine best cuts from their two albums (Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space in 1993 and Blowout Comb in 1994), along with a B-side and a track from a Japanese issue of Blowout Comb.
Although “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” and “Nickel Bags” still bring back the smells of malt liquor and my neighbor’s moldy basement, on this second go-round the Planets seem more like the soundtrack to a yuppie’s dinner party. The mellow, jazzy beats and rhymes that at times broach on spoken-word have not stood the test of time in the same way that much of the Native Tongues groups have, but it’s still refreshing and fun when up against the hype and consumerism that is part and parcel of contemporary popular hip-hop.
Unofficial Digable Planets Web site (includes video from their reunion tour)Cee Knowledge a.k.a. Doodlebug’s Web site