New Band of the Month: February – Digable Planets

Every month this year (assuming no catastrophic changes in my life), I’m going to dedicate myself to getting into a new band.  By ‘new band’, what I really mean is an old band who I’ve known of for awhile but have for one reason or another never checked out.  Maybe they were a genre I wasn’t into, maybe they were the favorite band of someone I didn’t like, maybe I was just lazy.  Whatever reason, I’m going to spend the month trying to get into them.

If at the end of the month I find myself enjoying the music I’ll buy an album.  And if not, I’ll save my money for something else.

My second band for the year 2012 is:

Digable Planets

From the wiki page:

Digable Planets is an American alternative hip hop trio based in New York City, composed of Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler (from Seattle), Mary Ann “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira (from Silver Spring) and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving (from Philadelphia).

They released their debut album Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) in 1993, and their follow-up album Blowout Comb in 1994. Shortly after this release the trio parted ways, citing “creative differences”, though they’ve re-united to perform shows in more recent years.

My personal history with Digable Planets:

Absolutely none.  This will truly be a completely new musical experience for me.  That is to say, this band will be.  I enjoy rap/hip-hop quite a bit and have a variety of artists and groups I listen to regularly, most notably Outkast and Aesop Rock.

I must, with embarrassment, admit that my initial experience of rap was through the Christian rap-turned-rock band, dc Talk.  If you read the Fugazi entry  in this feature, you’re probably recognizing a pattern emerging.  I was raised on a steady diet of Christian music and it wasn’t until late high school that I started exploring outside the church for music (mostly because my family had all but fallen apart and I didn’t have to worry about getting in trouble for it anymore).

The first non “Decent Christian Talk” rap I bought was Nas’ 2002 album, “God’s Son.”  I was in college and I played the hell out of it.  I also bought some Beastie Boys and downloaded my fair share of random tracks.  Generally, I had the ‘White boy from Kansas’ hip-hop primer down, but I would never say I was an aficionado. 

My education over the past 6 years has expanded considerably.

Part of the reason I specifically wanted to do a hip-hop artist this early in the feature is because for the first time in a very long time, I actually heard someone (here in Seattle) utter the phrase, “I don’t listen to rap,” and it wasn’t my mother.  It kind of blew me away.  In this day and age, to say you don’t listen to rap is pretty much the same as saying you categorically don’t listen to pop.  The genre is too pervasive and too fractured to truly avoid.  It certainly shouldn’t be worn as a badge of pride to be ignorant of the genre.

Last year, my brother hooked me up with A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory.”  Since Digable Planets are often spoken of in the same revered sentences as Tribe, I figured they’d be as good a group to check out as any.

I don’t know what to expect, at all.  I have li-te-rally never heard a single song by Digable Planets.  And that’s exciting.  All new ground.

Like last month, I encourage you to explore with me, or rediscover them if you’ve always been a fan.  And if you have suggestions for future bands (or genres) I should feature, please mention them in the comments.

Previous Months:

January – Fugazi

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