Union, Jackson, Yesler, 2-3...
It had to feel good for some 206-born MCs to lace "Home," the Seattle ode that closes out Jake One's White Van Music. Vitamin D, C-Note (of Narkotik), and Maine all did their thing in a major way (word to Funkdaddy)—invoking the town's chill swagger and shitty sports teams, representing right for the city that rightly knows them well as local institutions. But it really had to be some kind of cathartic for Seattle native Ishmael Butler, aka Ish (formerly known as Butterfly), of gold-selling, Grammy-winning hiphop crew Digable Planets to close the track out without his Central District–heavy verse—rapwise, it was no less than a homecoming for an MC who most heads for years thought was from Brooklyn. Understandable, as Digables repped BK to the fullest—although none of the talented trio (well, quartet, if you count their DJ Silkworm, known to you today as the amazing King Britt) hailed from there.
After the he-yooge crossover success of their fantastic 1991 debut Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and its ubiquitous hit single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)," DP found themselves in critical danger of being the poster children for the nongenre known as jazz-rap. Some wrote them off as one-hit wonders, gimmicks, frauds. (Shit, I remember at the time swearing to the homie that Reachin'—a record I loved, and still do—liberally ripped off A Tribe Called Quest's debut People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, just to sound like I knew something; to this day, I am still guilty of this same type of shit.) Then they dropped their timeless second album, the undeniably classic Blowout Comb, thus proceeding to fuck a lot of heads up. Goddamn, 1994 was a good year.
Blowout Comb is one of my desert-island hiphop albums—bass heavy, fluid, impossibly mellow, laced with raps both sharply political and blunted beyond measure. Ish, C-Know (also called Doodlebug), and Ladybug Mecca traded off rhymes so breezily it almost seemed like they were freestyled right in the booth; the production, borrowing heavy from vibey greats like Roy Ayers and Bobbi Humphrey (word to Pops) was jeep-appropriately booming, jazzy in its source material and structure, flush with inspired live playing that laid a fresh topcoat on their deeply dusty grooves. That said, all swoon units and creamy spies report to Neumos on Wednesday, November 12, to see Digable Planets, soulful local hiphop combo Godspeed, Big World Breaks, and DJ Topspin (aka Blendiana Jonez).
God knows, I'm gonna need a good night of breezy, head-nodding hiphop after the insanity that is sure to be 2 Live Crew at Nectar(!) on November 7, along with Champagne Champagne, Mad Rad, Jay Barz, and DJ Money D, all hosted by Sonny Bonoho. Uncle Luke and the 2 Live fucking Crew in Fremont? What in the hell is that gonna look like?