As mentioned in our last post, Digable Planets‘ sophomore album entitled Blowout Comb was laced with references, rhetoric, and lyrics dedicated to the 70’s, but more specifically to the Black Panther Party. Even the album art resembled the Black Panther Party periodical. When discussing the ode to the BPP in their album art, it is worthy to notw that Digable Planets took it a step further with their artistic imagery, having their debut single artwork resemble the Black Panther Artist Emory Douglas as well.
If we can go back in time to when this single first came out, let me repaint the picture of the landscape of Digable Planets. They were coming off the ultra success of their debut album Reachin’ and were able to achieve chart topping success for their song Cool Like That. MTV loved it…they played the video every chance they got. They even won a Grammy for it. So when they took their brief between-album hiatus, they had the mainstream world waiting patiently for their new material.
Then came the 9th Wonder video…
Sure MTV played it, because they were still hot from the last album, but eventually, they didn’t. Probably because it didn’t the marketability of Cool Like That, and it didn’t have the sing-a-long appeal of their more simplistic sound. Shortly after the video dropped, Digable Planets fell below the radar, and moved along. Today, you may see their names pop up on “one-hit wonder” lists, or hear their names follow the phrase “What ever happened to…?” Well, the select few that can identify with the brilliant sample selection, the master of the production, the message, the historical references, the lyrics, the art work, and so much more, those select few can call Blowout Comb one of Hip Hop’s greatest albums.
Here is the video for 9th Wonder, which is an excellent visual to the overall presentation to Blowout Comb
One more thing worth mentioning…let’s not forget the 9th Wonder remixes, and when I say “remixes”, I mean remixes. Named after historical and political figures, Digable Planets chose to re-record their vocals and provide new lyrics over a completely transformed instrumental. The remixes themselves can be standalone songs, and unless you had the 12″ vinyl, or the cassette single, you may have missed out on these. Not to fret, we have them here for your listening pleasure.
Written by: @Haylow