REACHIN' (A NEW REFUTATION OF TIME AND SPACE)
1993 was a gigantic year for hip hop, perhaps the last really big year. The airwaves were flooded with it, contracts were being handed out like Kleenexes at a funeral and the spectrum of completely diversified acts expanded far beyond where it ever had before. The Digable Planets were one beneficiary of this growth in the game and this, their debut record was like nothing the world had ever heard before.
Pulling from the formula that had previously worked for Tribe and Gang Starr, Reachin' is an ultra-funky and infinitely-smooth jazz/funk-filled good time. And more importantly, it's constructed, sequenced and delivered so that it never dares at becoming novelty. It's sounds, acts and flows like an ol' dusty jazz record. It did when you first heard it and it does still.
I remember Danny getting this for me on cassette for my birthday that year. We popped it in my mom's stereo at the back of the house, pressed play and just sat there hypnotized as the album faded softly into "It's Good To Be Here." The first listen, the discovery, was so enticing and so dope that we couldn't wipe that smile off our face for weeks as hard as we tried. And now, years later, the impact of this album on me was so profound, it never leaves my side. In fact, I have three copies and none of them are being given out. They're all mine.
Da Digables released their incredible follow-up Blowout Comb only a year later and, while, deeper in the funk and, in my opinion, just as good as their debut, they would never see the popularity again that their debut brought them. Leave it to MTV to burn out good groups. They came from nowhere, dropped two insanely beautiful contributions to hip hop and, for that matter, modern music as a whole and then disappeared back into nowhere.
Buy both of their records. You'll never regret it and this I promise.
"It's Good To Be Here"
"Where I'm From"
"Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)"
"La Femme Fetal"
"Escapism (Gettin' Free)"