Great in-depth essay on the story of Digable Planets :
THE RADICAL BLACKNESS OF DIGABLE PLANETS
by Raghav Raj @albumoftheweek__
. "The story of Digable Planets begins during the late 1980’s in the culturally rich City of Brotherly Love. Ishmael ‘Butterfly’ Butler was based in Seattle, interning at Arthur Russell’s Sleeping Bag Records in New York, and intermittently visiting his grandmother and father in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, studying at the prestigious HBCU Howard University in Philadelphia, Craig ‘Doodlebug’ Irving got into the local hip hop scene through hanging out with some Five-Percenters, where he’d often see and talk to Butler. Here, Irving also met Mary Ann ‘Ladybug’ Vieira, a Brazilian-American dance-crew member from Maryland, introducing her to Butler. Eventually, Butler would recruit both Irving and Vieira for his project, named Digable Planets, signing with Pendulum Records off of the strength of a few loose demos.
It’s this collision of incredibly different artistic identities and backgrounds that made Digable Planets such a unique, vital voice in the burgeoning East Coast hip-hop scene of the early ‘90’s. Along with contemporaries like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets became forebearers of a new, peacefully afrocentric sound that stood in stark contrast to the gangster rap sweeping the West Coast scene. Sharing interest in Five-Percenter ideologies and the teachings of Marx, Sartre, and Nietzsche, the trio’s lyrics combined down-to-earth observations of their inner-city surroundings with their utopian philosophies."
Read full essay now on Vinyl Writers
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