October 18, 2015

Digable Planets "Blowout Comb" (Album Review, 1994)

"Rather than constructing their political identities as the prophets of a holy war or as morally justified criminals, the Brooklyn-based rappers Digable Planets see themselves as the "creamy spies" of their blaxploitation flick. Riding black politics for all they're worth, Butterfly, Doodlebug and Ladybug posit Afro picks, baggy jeans, and 'Tims' as both the symbols of and tools for a black cultural nationalism. Like Cleopatra Jones or John Shaft, fly threads and phat beats are essential in their quest to uplift the community. Refining their vision of an abstract bohemia from their debut album, The Digables now see themselves as an "intercommunal sound service" for a very specific audience of African-Americans." Check out "9th Wonder (Blackitolism)," cont'd below...

"On "Borough Check," The Planets (with Gang Starr's Guru) wax rhapsodic about Brooklyn, but the groove is so laconic and the references so arcane that the song becomes menacingly singular. It is an alienating soundscape: the beats are hollow and blunted, there are no hooks as galvanising as "Cool Like Dat" and the rhymes are still as obscurantist as ever with coded lyrics like "makin' bacon" (ie killing police) delivered so off-the-cuff as to render them almost meaningless. Unlike the cinematic violence of gangsta rap, which is spectacular whether you like it or not, the success (or failure?) of Digable Planets to create a soundworld that is disconcerting to whites is dependent upon your effort to scratch beneath the album's patina of suave jazziness and hipster slang."