In the 90s, Digable Planets sampled past visionaries like Art Blakey and Curtis Mayfield to create this futuristic hybrid of jazz and hip hop.
They unshackled hip hop from its repetition-based framework on debut Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time And Space). Then on follow-up Blowout Comb, they employed jazz instrumentation to hip hop’s modernistic inner-city vigor. Fast-forward twenty years, and nobody came remotely close to sounding like Digable Planets, barring founder Ishmael Butler’s equally brilliant Shabazz Palaces. Guess that makes Digable Planets’ latest ‘rebirth of slick’ all the more imperative.
Digable Planets originally broke up in 1995, briefly reunited in 2005, and last performed together in 2011. In 2012, Butler was asked about whether they would perform again, and answered: "I think it's the end" (Back at the end of December, 2012, Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces had also been scheduled to perform back-to-back shows at the Neptune, but Digable Planets canceled.) Their 1994 LP Blowout Comb was reissued in 2013. The trio reunited in 2013 at a show in Seattle.