The Many Moons of Digable Planets

Posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Unlike any other veteran rap act, the idea of rating the Digable Planets current output against that of their heyday is hardly laughable. Just as their easily digestible debut gave way to a more intricate and enduring sophomore release, the group’s afterlife has been riding a similar tide. 

Not that negotiating this post-Planets output has been easy. Ish “Butterfly” Butler seems to be deliberately keeping his comeback a secret, with the music press curiously playing along. 2004’s Cherrywine project spawned a grimy basement funk session that should have blown-up like a disenfranchised teenager in the Middle East, but went all but unnoticed. I then must have blinked during last year’s release of the lurid and unstructured Shabazz Palaces, which emerged as more aggressive and, true to form, more challenging than the music that paved its way.

Arranging this selection of Digable Planets remixes and rarities against highlights of Ishmael’s subsequent projects presents the same progression from accessibility to experimentalism that marked those first two albums, with the recent output comfortably standing on the same footing as anything the group did before and above anything anybody else does now.

Digable Planets – Intro from Amsterdam Reunion Tour
Digable Planets – Nickel Bags of Bites (Excerpt)
Digable Planets – Dedicated
Digable Planets – Where I’m From (Aural G Ride 12”)
Digable Planets – Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That) (Crashing Giant Step Mix)
Digable Planets – Excerpt from CurrentTV Interview
Digable Planets – Nickel Bags (Sneak A Beshu Mix)
Digable Planets – Appointment at the Fat Clinic
Digable Planets – Califlower (Spiddyocks Go West)
Digable Planets – Three Slim’s Dynamite
Digable Planets feat Guru – Borough Check
Digable Planets feat. Jeru – Graffiti (Noise)
Digable Planets – Dial 7 (Axioms of Creamy Spies)
Digable Planets – 9th Wonder (Amina Remix)
Tek 9 feat. Butterfly – Gettin’ Down Again
Camp Lo feat. Butterfly – Swing
Cherrywine – See For Miles
King Britt feat. Cherrywine – The Sound
Cherrywine – Dazzlement
Shabazz Palaces – N. Splendored/ Find Out
Shabazz Palaces – Capital 5, Recorded After Hrs at the Gun Ballad Resource Centre
Cherrywine – 16th Minute
Cherrywine – Sleep Pretty Girl
Digable Planets feat. Lester Bowie and Melvin Watson – Flying High in the Brooklyn Sky
Digable Planets – Where I’m From (DJ Bonus Beats)
Digable Planets – Excerpt from CurrentTV Interview
Digable Planets – Marvin, You’re the Man

Electric Adolescence – The Many Moons of Digable Planets (right click to download) 60:00 mins/ 320 kbps/ 137MB

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Based on the single and a dramatic new video referencing Charles Burnett’s remarkable film, Killer of Sheep, I’d suggest Shabazz Places is poised to turn things upside down had I not made similar claims about Blowout Comb and Bright Black just before hip-hop devolved into genre of ring-tones. This time I’ll at least put my oar in the water with some bonus material taken from the group’s appearance on Seattle’s KEXP radio.

Shabazz Palaces – Live on KEXP (right click to download) 20:00 mins/ 320 kbps/ 45.8MB

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