Friday, September 27, 2013

reachin' (a new refutation of time and space)

Digable Planets delivered a nicklebag of buttshakin' funk and heady hip hop bebop with this slick sampladelic manifesto.  Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler came from Seattle, Mary Ann "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira from Silver Spring, and Craig "Doodlebug" Irving from Philadelphia.  They formed their insect crew in Philadelphia and relocated to New York where they recorded 'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' with Butler co-producing with Shane "The Doctor" Faber and Mike "Launching An Attack" Mangini.  The album sampled extensively from classic jazz and funk albums.  

Butler "Butterfly" looks back:  "Back then it was all about resources. Like cats didn't have no money, you know what I'm saying? Where you gonna get your record that you're gonna sample from? You gonna steal from the people that you know that's closest to you, your dad and your mom? My pop had jazz records, my mom had jazz records and soul records. Well, let's go in there and get them. It wasn't like we got to do this jazz thing. It was like all instruments ... I was talking in terms of the politics. A lot of people talk and say the Cherrywine stuff is not being as political as the Digable stuff but what I was saying about the politics...not that it was thin but that it was somewhat more rhetorical than actionary. Where we were sayin stuff and 'bringin the light' to subjects and stuff. But i think what you gotta do in terms of politics is you gotta bring the fire. You gotta bring dedication and life to it rather than just awareness. So alot of times when peoples talk about political issues.. what it serves to do is bolster their own image of being thoughtful revolutionaries rather than helping out the cause they're talking about. So, that's what I was saying was thin with the Digables stuff. but not transparent! it was meaningful but it wasn't all that it could have been. So on the new shit i was like, talk about yourself. If you're gonna have a revolution let it be where it needs to start first and that would be within yourself, be honest with yourself man. And write songs that are real and that way they can relate to people in a way that is a little more substantial. That's all. I was talking about the politics of it. The hip hop shit of it was still the realest shit to me." 

Irving "Doodlebug"(AKA Cee-Knowledge) considers:   "In our songs, as on most jazz records, the rhythm section always plays, keeping that rhythm going so horn players can do solos. We try to relate that to us. We are the three soloists. Our first single parallels the jazz of the be-bop era ... Each individual is their own planet, with the power and ability to control (their) destiny. Of course, each planet has to coexist with rest of planets in (the) solar system ... and each individual planet is digable ... The spirit behind...was rebellion ... My father was really into the (civil rights) movement. He would teach me ... His friends would come over and talk about books and philosophy, and I was interested.  He'd say to me, `You want to know what we're talking about? Read this book.' So I read Kafka, Dostoevsky, Hegel and Camus at an early age."

Viera "Ladybug" (AKA Mecca) reveals:   I remember having to decide either I'm gonna pay this dollar, you know, to get to the studio or I'm gonna, like, have lunch today. But, you know, we were all just excited to be where we were in that place and time and having a record deal and that opportunity to put music out, regardless of all the struggles ... Those roots come from really, really deep within. I guess when your coming of age and your intuition starts speaking to you and telling you that things aren't right in certain situations. Certain things your observing just aren't clicking, not making sense, it's just plain dead wrong. That's where I guess the social awareness is born from. So it started from there, just noticing what was wrong with the world." 

'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' was a crossover sensation, going to number fifteen on the Billboard album chart and number five on the hip hop album chart and was certified gold.

'Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)' went to number fifteen on the US pop singles chart, six on the US R&B chart, and number one on the rap chart.  The song won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

'Where I'm From' peaked at number seven on the US rap singles chart.

'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' 

full album:

1. It's Good to Be Here
2. Pacifics (Sdtrk "N.Y. Is Red Hot")
3. Where I'm From
4. What Cool Breezes Do
5. Time & Space (A New Refutation Of)
6. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
7. Last Of The Spiddyocks
8. Jimmi Diggin' Cats
9. La Femme Fetal
10. Escapism (Gettin' Free)
11. Appointment At The Fat Clinic
12. Nickel Bags
13. Swoon Units
14. Examination Of What

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