Along with A Tribe Called Quest, DIGABLE PLANETS did more to connect hip-hop with jazz—and put forward a positive, cerebral form of the genre—than any other group. Their 1990s masterpieces Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and Blowout Comb--a love letter to Fort Greene which Pitchfork said, “made a proto-crate-digging approach feel completely organic, and integrated with their broader goal of deepening rap’s connection to music history”--remain two of rap’s greatest and most original records. Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Mary Ann “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving have reunited, and are backed here by a full band.
The classic Bronx duo CAMP LO have the opening honors. Comprised of Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede, the group formed in 1995 and have produced a steady stream of critically acclaimed (if publicly underappreciated) music ever since, collaborating along the way with the likes of De La Soul, Aesop Rock, Will Smith, and Pete Rock along the way. Their most recent record is last year’sRagtime Hightimes.