Music Aug 6, 2014 at 4:00 am

Digable Planets


I don't know if it is possible to hate this record. My dad likes jazz but hates hip hop (because he doesn't know a damn thing about it), but I played this for him once and he didn't hate it. Faint praise, I know, but not only is it possible to not hate this, it's possible to really like it too, as I do. So smooth.
I have always been a fan of DP, and I'm happy that you've found and connected with "Blowout Comb", but I think you should listen to the lyrics again - hard. The theme of this album was black nationalism and revolution (much in the spirit of the Black Power movement of the 1970's). A few choice lyrics:

"In the year of '89 I stole back my black mind..." Doodlebug on "Dial 7"
"One love, gun love, come free the land with us. Pigs they can not shoot this plush and creamy lavishness" - Buttafly on "Jettin"
"Now you see that I'm 68 inches above sea level. 93 million miles above these devils." - Mecca on "9th Wonder"

The album liner was actually a mock black revolutionary newspaper with faux articles discussing revolution.

For some people (not me personally), that's very offensive. To ask "is it not possible to like this?" and to say Blowout Comb "couldn't piss you off" means you may have left some of album's meaning on the table.

I bring this up not to condemn this album, but to praise it. It has a stout, passionate revolutionary message, but it's wrapped in a chill, jazzy velvet glove. That's really part of Digable Planets' magic. This album was DP at the height of their powers.
Please listen to this album again so you can enjoy it in its fullness.
...well, I like their first album better.
My favorite thing about this record is how the samples are used in a way that drastically improves them -- the Bob James bit on "Jettin'" for instance. Bob James is pretty cheesy stuff, really, and the sample they use is pedestrian, but has a core of interest in it, that the Planets turned into something unmistakably catchy. Listen to the two side by side at if you don't believe me. In the right hands, sampled record snippets can turn into a whole new kind of magic.
@4. Correct as usual. Another instance -…
"9th wonder" is among the my top five all time hip hop tracks. everything about that song is confident and natural.

the first album was good, but didn't age as well because in retrospect, what they relied most upon felt gimmicky. blowout comb blew out all the beatnik cliches and upped the ante on beats and lyrics, while keeping the style and flow smooth but restrained. again: confident.
I once read about a young child in Tibet. He was raised in a buddhist monastery hidden in a system of caves high in the mountains. Far from civilization he was to possess a pure, perfect mind, cultivated only by the teachings of the other monks, their ancient books, and the view of the stars and icy peaks out of the window of his simple dormitory. And then a jet airplane flew past and the game was up.

Anna, was that you?
@ #2 is spot on. The first album was much more of a party rocker, if still very intelligent. This album is straight up revolutionary.
When hip hop wasn't..."mainstream" this quality, depth and positivity was standard.

I recommend Ladybug's solo effort too. There was a time when there were a variety of female emcees who didn't have to play the "ride or die" role.

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