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The New York-based Jazz Rap act Digable Planets were seen to make their breakthrough in 1993 as they came at a time when the freshness of Jazz Rap had lost this quality and Gangsta Rap had taken over the airwaves, and so with "Reachin'" the alternative group (who consisted of artists who go by the names of Ladybug Mecca, Doodlebug, Butterfly and backing from Silkworm) came with the sort of things which was popularised by De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr with artists who had been brought together despite being raised all over the country with a Washington State, D.C., Philly being the homelands of the individuals.
1. "It's Good To Be Here"
Getting the album underway in a manner which seems fitting, as they come out with something jazzy to liven up listeners as the MCs get down to things and come with their unique delivery manner which appears to reflect what others before them had done in their time. It is a fresh joint and gets you ready for what is to come later as they kick a tune which represents their sound well and has them speak on who their key influences are.
Using some throwback seventies wah-wah samples along the way, this one takes on an irresistible bass guitar riff to guide them through and allow them to flow with ease and let everyone know just who they are and what exactly they have to offer the listeners (and in what ways they have come to further what the likes of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and The Jungle Brothers did before them as they pull out a smooth one.
3. "Where I'm From"
Hey have another funky bassline running through this one and I felt that it enabled the same sort of effect to manifest itself as they went along the thing, but in fact it seemed to go a step further in this case as they get down to one of their singles and they guide listeners right into their world so that you are able to understand why exactly they were able to make such innovative material to carry on Jazz Rap stretch in the game.
4. "What Cool Breezes Do"
I felt that this one really stood out on the thing and as a result it meant that the sort of quality that came of the track prior to it was able to persist through with this fresh joint. Their approach is so laid-back that it always sounds as if they are just laying out a freestyle and I think that they forces the listener into the same sort of position as you seem to escape everything once they get down to business.
5. "Time & Space"
This is a one of the biggest jams on the album and on which has them flowing in a way that forces you to have fun., They way they compose the rhythms of their rhymes is perfect to take you in and make you enjoy yourself as they keep to the spacey rhymes which don't really have any sort of boundaries as they just take it where their imagination goes to form yet another killer joint on the record.
6. "Rebirth Of Slick"
This was perhaps the most significant single for them and it came as their debut single. It has them making the Jazz elements stand right out to make it clear what they have to offer the game, and this is affirmed as they claim that they " be to Rap what key be to lock" and they get you head-bopping to their funky composition. It is a track that has tem combining so many genres and coming up with an almost perfect creation.
7. "Last of The Spiddyocks"
Turning to a chopped version Hip Hop staple of the "Impeach The President" Break, this one has them getting down to one of the most impressive tunes on the thing. It is an interesting one as you find that they are able to remain composed in the way that Q-Tip always seemed to be with Tribe Called Quest cuts, even with their debut 1990 album when he knew how fresh his work was, but he didn't want to yet it show in his rhymes.
8. "Jimmi Diggin' Cats"
With this one we find that they get inspiration in the form of Kool & The Gang's futuristic "Summer Madness" joint, and they allow this ascending synthesizer sample to get them into the right frame of mind to get itno another banger of a tune to take things to a place where you simply cant complain about what they do as they do it in such a passive manner as if they weren't really bothered about how people felt towards it.
9. "La Femme Fetal" (Lude)
Following some Last Poets-styled spoken word material, this one has them getting yet another killer jam. It is quite a change for them as here they take on some production which seem to get them bringing in a lot more Hip Hop (than they usually do) for a killer tune as they show what they tend to like in Hip Hop as they do things on pounding bass and they also take on more Jazz and Funk, most notably The Ohio Players' "Funky Worm" as they express their feelings of freedom.
11. "Appointment At A Fat Clinic" (Lude)
12. "Nickel Bags"
This one was the final single from the album and with so many killer tunes on the album, it was hard to pick specifically which ones needed to promote the record, but I felt that this one was a very good choice as they show more of their influences from the earlier Hip Hop years through the seventies and the Funk it offered, as well as slightly earlier with the Psychedelic years and of course all the Jazz which preceded this as they offer a "Nickel Bag Of Funk".
13. "Swoon Units"
By this point it appears that they simply aren't able to lose their flow as they come out with yet another banger of a jam where they keep the material on a very high standard and come up with a tune where they show more of how alternative their ways are and how it progresses all of the conventions in the Hip Hop world to potentially lead to another phase when this style prevailed (although it took a few years for it to actually kick in.
14. "Examination Of What"
They end the album with a tune which reflects all the quality that came through in the rest of the album to leave listeners on a high and keep them interested as it comes to a close. It is a fly tune and it rounds it off in a way which seems, strangely, to calm you down in spite of the fact that there have been no significant alterations in the tempo through the record and it gives you time t reflect upon what has happened over this time.
Although the first two weren't quite as good as the rest, this is an album that Alternative Hip Hop fans can't really do without. I felt that once you got over their odd delivery style it was one of the biggest albums going as they lay down a killer tune at every step through the album and keep listeners interested through obscure samples and just a general funky approach to come up with the goods.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 It's Good To Be Here
3 Where I'm From
4 What Cool Breezes Do
5 New Refutation Of Time And Space
6 Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
7 Last Of The Spiddyocks
8 Jimi 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