DIGABLE PLANETS / “Black Ego”


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12 Responses to “DIGABLE PLANETS / “Black Ego””

Nadir L. Bomani Says:
June 22nd, 2005 at 12:02 am

The last time i listened to “reachin” was probably 93bc (blowout comb). After “bc” came out, i couldn’t return to that second generation “native tongue”sound anymore. I remember digable getting a grammy for the “reachin” album, then “butterfly” said some pro black shit on cbs about political prisoners. If think that flushed their pop audience down the toilet. The release of blowout comb slammed the lid down on any potential terds who wanted to be seen as planet fans.

Blowout is a classic. One of the first CD’s i copped that had thump like a cassette. Ditto on mtume’s critique. However, i think butterfly is the most polished mc in this group. I can’t imagine “ladybug” being ahead of “mc lyte”, “latifah” (before living single), or “ice cream tee” in any mcing category (lady looks better though).

As far as current mc’s capturing the digable sound, check out Little Brother’s:The Listening(2002). There is a beautiful tribute to the song “9th Wonder” on “So Fabulous”. In fact, the production, which happens to be tweeked by an upstart who might have copped his name from the digable blackitolism title, sounds like a cross between pete rock’s earlier stuff and the blowout comb.

Nadir L. Bomani


Marian Says:
June 23rd, 2005 at 5:32 am

The site is definitely an education. Isaac Hayes I know, but who are these other people? So a chance to learn without seeing the cross-eyed look of younger folks.

Unfortunately, I am still trying to deal with the muddled tones of hip/hop or rap? (What’s the difference, dear teacher?) I feel the same when I listen to the Israeli pop music that I’ve been buying. Hey! I understand that word — meanwhile they are on word 12. But I am listening. Love the music. Wish I could understand what they were saying.

* * * Mtume says: Rap is a style/type/sub-genre of music. Hip-hop is a culture (or sub-culture) of music (DJing and MCing), dance (B-boying or breakdancing) and art (grafitti, aerosal art, etc.) which was birthed in and around the South Bronx in the early 1970’s. That’s the easy answer. If you care to go deep enough, answering your question would be suitable for a doctorate thesis. Further complicating the matter, many people use the words ‘rap’ and ‘hip-hop’ interchangeably. Others use ‘hip-hop’ to mean good rap music and/or ‘rap’ to mean non-intellectual hip-hop music. I could go on, but….

One other thing. You don’t have to understand what the MC is saying to dig the record. As the quote at the header of the review implies, most of the lyrics on Blowout Comb float through one’s subconscious mind without fully changing from semi-abstract sounds/tones/rhythms into what the conscious mind would recognize as “words.” I can easily repeat whole sections of Rakim’s lyrics from his 1987 Paid In Full album or Andre’s lyrics from Outkast’s 1996 album ATLiens even though I haven’t listened to either album in months, if not longer. By contrast, I can’t repeat more than a line or two from Blowout Comb even if I’ve heard it five minutes previous. Nature of the beast. * * *


trey Says:
June 23rd, 2005 at 12:17 pm

Great spotlight on an amazing album. But, for me, “9th Wonder” is one of my 10 favorite hip-hop songs and definitely an album stand-out.


Pierre C Says:
June 23rd, 2005 at 2:37 pm

oliver wang’s praise for your site is well deserved. digable planets’ 2nd is a great choice… i think a lot of people neglect(ed) this album in a manner reminiscent of the cold shoulder given to pharcyde’s 2nd record. perhaps a sign that too many of us like our art ‘dumbed down’ – don’t make us think, please! hmm, i thought that’s what art, popular or not, was supposed to do. thanks. * * * Mtume says: Pierre is referring to Oliver Wang’s site which can be found at http://www.soul-sides.com. Soul Sides is an excellent audioblog that focuses on hip-hop and the music hip-hoppers love to sample (meaning–as a generalization–’60s jazz and ’70s R&B). Note: To launch Soul Sides outside of the BoL viewer, CTRL-click the link (for Windows) or APPLE-click (for Mac). Or open a new window and type it yourself. 😉 * * *


Jeff Says:
June 23rd, 2005 at 8:46 pm

I love Jettin’ from BC. It exudes a mature & confident/cool sound which (arguably) marks the change in hip hop from the daisy age era (fun new & fresh) to the hip hop of the mid 90’s. A great transitional track that makes me remember “the good old days” of hip hop.


Danny Gee Says:
June 23rd, 2005 at 10:51 pm

Great site guys and with regards to whoever it was that asked if there are any other hip hop acts out there with a similer sound to the Planets, check out
Diverse – one a.m. Some tracks sound very much like Digables.


chris Says:
June 23rd, 2005 at 11:43 pm

First off, my first visit to the site has been very pleasant. Soulsides led me here and I instantly see Blowout Comb. One of my favorite albums. Instant bookmark. So forgotten. Until very recently for some reason, I started to see this record pop up at turntablelab and record stores. Digable Planets dropped Reachin somewhere in ’93 and was begining to end dope. When Blowout dropped their fans where expecting the same jazzy hippy vibes to be laid out only to find a more charged, afrocentric, darker, political (if you have the cd as well you know what i mean), mature DP. This album is beautiful, soulful as hell just good hiphop good music. My recommended tracks are Dog it. Horns, nuff said (pop my junk my junk). For Corners ends the album just right. 2 albums. 2 styles. Both enjoyable. Love and respect to the DPs, hope the rumors of reuniting are true, I’m sure they’re rumors. Love and respect to creators of this site. Sorry about not mentioning Black Ego once. These open replies are going to be outlets for people to just rant on, me included. thank you.


* * * Mtume says: For once, the rumors are true. The Planets are currently on a U.S. tour. Go to 2005 Digable Planets reunion tour to see when and where they’ll be in your town. They’ll be at HOB N.O. on June 28th, and yours truly will be in the house. * * *

kamau Says:
June 25th, 2005 at 9:42 am

glad to see it finally happening after the long hiatus. i`m dialing in from the other side of the globe but feel like i`m right there with you cats listening to what you have to say. it just so concidentally happens that i`ve been listening to some digable selections lately with a touch of zap mama in my md walkman. there are some selections from both digable albums in my rotation and i couldn’t totally abandon reachin after bc came out. my favorite would undoubtedly have to be the third? cut from bc. i`m not sure of the title. perhaps “back in black”? for all the same reasons everyone mentioned. i rarely have to repeat or remember more than a verse to feel the entire song of a digable cut. `back in black` is often on repeat as i ride the train and i have to say i can’t quote the opening verse for you now to save my life. bc is one of the few albums i can let play in my cd player undisturbed. i never was completely high on all the cuts but as mtume said, the more you listen to it, the less you find wrong with it.

* * * Mtume says: Kamau’s talking about track #3 – “Dog It,” and I always thought they were saying “Black meaning Black.” But, who knows?

And, for those not in the know: “bc” is Blowout Comb, “reachin” is Digable Planets’ first album, “md” is Minidisc, and “the other side of the globe” is Japan. * * *


Jurij Ganjov Says:
June 27th, 2005 at 10:21 am

great, great site i must say and the selections…digable is one of my favourite groups and as it seems – although i dig (no pun intended) blowout a lot – i share the opinion of others, cause i prefer the first lp over the second too.


ok why i’m writing is because after getting to this blog (through soul-sides as well) and reading who makes it, Mtume, your name just rung some bells in my head and after ten minutes i realized! i’m a uni student from Hungary, Eastern Europe and the funny thing is that last year i used one of your papers on the black arts movement for a paper of mine about hiphop and it’s commercialization. although you have nothing to do with this, besides writing that paper back than, i have never had the chance to thank anybody who i had quoted/read before. so thank you. and sorry for being a bit off topic, i was just so happy to realize why your name is so familiar.

the other thing: Butterfly/Ishmael is actually from tomorrow not the only planet to have a solo album, because ladybug mecca’s "Trip To Light Fantastic" is dropping tomorrow on Nu Paradigm. i don’t know Butterfly’s album, but from what you wrote, Mecca follows the same path, hers being a rather rockish (at least to me) soul/funk/r&b album as well.

* * * Mtume says: Thanks for all the kind words, Jurij. You couldn’t have picked a better writer to quote. 😉

Soul Sides is one of the better audioblog’s available. Check them out at http://www.soul-sides.com.

Mecca’s new album is indeed being released tomorrow (June 28, 2005). Click here to check it out at amazon.com. * * *

Chris Defendorf Says:
April 9th, 2006 at 12:53 am

such a great album…
“kalamu got the funk…”(smile)


upfromsumdirt Says:
June 19th, 2012 at 6:48 pm

if ‘blowout comb’ aint on the playlist when the Rapture comes, then they can just go on and keep heaven to they selves; i’d be better off down here on the grind. when the revolution comes, the first five hip hop albums i’m grabbing are this one, the rock hard ep by the beastie boys, the doc’s no one can do it better, outkast (yes, i’m counting all their albums as a single release!), and ice cube’s death certificate (or at least the first side of it! – that album should have been released as two separate eps, because pound for pound, ‘the death side’ might be the best hip hop album ever)


BUHRMAN Says:
May 12th, 2015 at 11:06 am

I’ve in most cases dearly loved just about all categories having to do with Hip-Hop. I’ve been a very big lover, awesome blog post.


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