Digable Planets formed in the early '90's, when Ishmeal Butler, met Mary Ann Vieira while attending college in Massachusetts. The two later hooked up with Doodlebug and began recording. Their first single, 'Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)' hit the R&B Top Ten while their debut album, Reachin' was a critical and commercial success. Digable Planets returned in late 1994 with their best album. Blowout Comb continued the group's jazz-rap fusion, but also saw them branching out to embrace the old school sound of the street as well. After Blowout Comb, Digable Planets gradually dissolved due to the dreaded "creative differences". Ten years later, the group has reunited, recently completing a summer tour and assembling a collection of hits, remixes and rarities for Blue Note Records. Beyond the Spectrum - The Creamy Spy Chronicles contains some of contemporary music's finest gems and exclusive tracks that have spanned the decade and remain head-boppin' jams for the hip-hop generation. 2005.
It's not clear why they didn't just call this a "greatest hits" compilation since it so clearly is one. That said, it does a decent job of pulling out the best songs from the DP's two mid-90s albums (though one should ask: can a two-album group really qualify for "greatest hits" status?). The seminal "Rebirth of Slick" is on here, as are other slices of jazzy mellowness from Reachin'
, like "Nickel Bags" and "Dial 7." It's good to see how much material is here from the underrated Blowout Comb
, which features superior musical and lyrical material such as the deliciously dark "Dog It" and the light-hearted charm of "Jettin'." The album also features some exclusive material such as unreleased songs ("Three Slims Dynamite"), "Dedicated" (which only appeared on the B-side of a single) and remixes for both "Where I'm From" and "9th Wonder." --Oliver Wang