Digable Planets

It wasn't a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup moment when this Brooklyn trio learned they could merge cool jazz, poetry and rap into a desirable package (The Last Poets, The Jungle Brother, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest can all arm-wrestle over first honors). But Digable Planets scored the first sizable commercial success when "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" landed in the top 20 on the pop charts, and its jazzy veneer was a respite from most of the gangsta clatter building up arms around it. "Rebirth" won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance that year, acing out such formidable bad boys as Cypress Hill, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The trio mounted a more political program next time out with Blowout Comb, and while it was a success, the album's Black Panthers art direction frightened off more conservative fans. The group folded in 1995, but announced a reunion this spring -- on NPR. Now grown adults with children, they no longer answer to insect names. If you want Craig "Doodle Bug" Irving, address him as Cee Knowledge. That's edutainment!


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