Digable Planets – Reachin (A New Refutation of Time and Space)

Man, good thing I was in a really shitty mood this week, or I probably wouldn’t have been able to get into Digable Planets.  I’ve been listening to their debut album, Reachin (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised.  Emphasis on pleasant.  If these guys are one thing, it is definitely pleasant.  They’ve got the laid-back jazz-rap style down perfect.   The three MCs even go so far as to get some good non-threatening names-Butterfly, Doodlebug, and Ladybug, respectively.  These guys do not trade verses with Ghostface Killah, is what I’m saying.

Eric B and Rakim had just released their final album, Don’t Sweat The Technique, a year prior to Reachin, but the Planets raps are still from the pre-Rakim school of hip hop-Basic flows and songs about street life.  They even trade bars now and then.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people who named themselves after adorable insects don’t spend half the album boasting about their microphone prowess, but after listening to nothing but Jay Electronica for a week prior, it was a nice change of pace.

One thing they do like to brag about is how good the MUSIC is, and I am all for that.  My favorite track, Nickelbags, is a celebration of funk, funky samples, and other things that are funky, and funk, ah, funk it, I mean fuck it.  I don’t know where I was going with that.  Just listen to the song.

This song is so good at 3AM.  That barely there flute is incredible.  It’s sleepy yet happy, entirely content with the world.  That was Bob Marley’s problem.  He needed more flutes.  (Well also most of his songs sucked.)  It reminds me of Sesame Street.  I doubt that’s what they were going for with this record, but it’s definitely what I got from it.  I think that’s more to do with the majority of my Sesame Street viewing coming from early 90’s tapings.  However, they do mention Snuffleupagus in a song, Bert and Ernie too.  I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, but hey, it’s there.

The album is very relaxed, it doesn’t have any true bangers, but it’s a great one nonetheless.  It’s a record for those summer days when it’s just too hot to do anything, or those spring days when you’re too depressed to listen to noise-metal, I guess.  Can’t wait to hear it on crappy car speakers.

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