Digable Planets | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Digable Planets

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The Digable Planets are the latest groovy entry from the sparking and restless world of alternative rap. Our players are three insect munchkins (Doodle, Butterfly, and Ladybug) who groove on abstract existentialism, gentle and percolating beats, and irresistible bebop samples. The title of their unlikely but ingratiating hit single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" pretty much says it all about the group; they've taken a jazzy, forgotten cool, harnessed it to those caressing drum tracks, and given a constantly changing musical form its newest spin. The Planets nod to all the requirements of the form but do it so winningly that you just can't help being charmed. Where a conventional rapper might start off the album with a boastful autobiography of growing up on the streets, the Planets start off with a cheerful creation fantasy that tells how Butterfly and his tiny pals came to exist--but thankfully, not boastfully. The song's chorus, "It's good to be here" (with a hooky horn sample behind), accordingly becomes a humble moment of catharsis. (These guys make P.M. Dawn look like Schoolly D.) Too many whites over the age of 20 still seem immune to the enticements of rap, but Digable Planets may be the band that'll change their minds. Friday, 7:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Guzman.

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