Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space): #353 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

This is the album I immediately think about when I talk about how I wish there were more music being produced that smartly meshes jazz and hip hop.

Now, to be fair, there’s been some amazing jazzy hip hop produced in recent years. I’ve curated a great Spotify playlist called Jazz Hip Hop Masterwork (I like fun playlist names, so sue me!) that contains a wild array of jazz-infused hip hop ranging from the likes of MF Doom to Brock Berrigan to Cappadonna to the Beastie Boys.

With few exceptions (such as Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s Mecca and the Soul Brother, #985 of best 1,000 albums ever), all of that music stands on the shoulders of the Digable Planets in some form.

They’re just cool like dat. And by that, of course, I’m talking about “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” a masterwork and masterpiece of the jazzy hip hop subgenre.

It makes perfect sense that the words “cool” and “slick” are in the song’s title because both those adjectives perfectly describe Digable Planets’ music, and throw in descriptors like sly, confident, and smooth.

That walking bassline (a standup or double bass, the instrument I played in orchestra back in the day) and horn sample are unlike anything else in modern music. And the playful yet precise interchange of rap verses between Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving is simply perfect.

“Where I’m From” has a breezy, catchy, upbeat horn sample that powers an exciting and thoroughly pleasing number.

And the song lyrics are on point and executed with a seeming effortlessness.

Food for thought so get a buffet plate
The lyrics are so fat you might gain weight

The chilled down, super head bobbing groove with a sprinkling of psychedelia vibes of “La Femme Fetal” has become one of my favorite tracks on the album in recent years.

Check out some more jazzy hip hop selections from Pop Thruster’s best 1,000 albums ever.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)

I’ve written almost 650 “entries” for the best 1,000 albums ever project now, and perhaps 40% or so of the albums covered are also included on Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums list.

I’m going to state something for the first time: I’m shocked that Reachin’ didn’t find a place on the Rolling Stone list.

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)

I also have to note that there’s something wonderfully New York about the Brooklyn-based Digable Planets.

I was born in Queens, grew up on Long Island, and later lived in the neighborhood of Astoria before moving to the west coast many moons ago.

I had the opportunity to see bands play in many local NYC venues back in the day, often in downtown Manhattan. One of my favorite things about New York City is the ability to wander into a local spot and have the opportunity to catch live worldclass music.

Digable Planets pulls me back to the 1990s and New York City in the most enjoyable kind of way, transporting through time and space, you might say.

Some stats & info about Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, Alternative Rap, Jazzy Rap, East Coast Rap
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)released? 1993
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #353 out of 1,000

Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

I’m cool like dat, I’m cool.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.