Digable Planets is a Brooklyn, New York-generated rap group consisting of Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving. Their unique, jazzy style gave the game something refreshing to listen to. But what happened to them? What are they up to now? Let’s explore.
Digable Planets | The Beginning
It was as if it was fate! The group’s story began when Ishmael Butler was visiting his grandmother in Philadelphia and met Craig Irving, who was then rhyming with a group called the Dread Poets Society. Craig was attending Howard University, where he met Mariana Vieira.
A few demos were initially recorded with the name Digable Planets, but they featured only Ishmael Butler. After briefly attempting to work with two other members, Butler decided to bring Irving and Vieira into the mix in 1989 to create some magic.
Hitting The Ground Running
By 1992, Digable Planets were signed to Pendulum Records, and all three members moved to Brooklyn, New York. In 1993 they released their debut album, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space). This album hit number 15 on the US Billboard 200 and number 5 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. This album also went on to go Gold, which isn’t a surprise, with songs like “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” and “Where I’m From.”
The group released its second album, Blowout Comb, in 1994. This album contained songs like “9th Wonder (Blackitolism)” and “Dial 7 (Axiom Of Creamy Spies).” This album peaked at number 13 on the U.S. Top R&B Albums chart.
Digable Planets | Break Up To Make Up
Also in 1994, the group was featured on the Red Hot Organization’s album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. This album was put together to help raise awareness and money for the AIDs epidemic. This album was ultimately a success. However, Digable Planets decided to disband due to “creative differences.”
Despite the group breaking up, all three members chose to continue pursuing music in their own way. Butler continued to make music under the moniker Cherrywine and joined forces with Tendai “Baba” Maraire to create the group Shabazz Palaces. He also worked in A&R and helped find new and innovative artists for the music label Sub Pop.
Irving released more music under the name Cee Knowledge & The Cosmic Funk Orchestra.
Vieira took another name, Lady Mecca, and continued releasing music and collaborating with other artists. She also joined the group Dino 5 as Tracy Triceratops and the group BROOKZILL!, a Brazillian hip-hop fusion group.
However, things changed in 2005 when the group decided to come back together for a reunion tour. They took things a step further that same year by releasing a compilation album that had a combination of their preciously released music with a new spin on it.
In 2010, the group stated that a new album was on the way. However, things ran sour again in 2012 when the group suddenly canceled a reunion show that was set to take place. But, in 2016, the group decided to come together again for a spring and summer reunion tour, as well as release a new album titled Digable Planets Live in 2017.
I had to make sure I review this song – it would be a crime if I didn’t, right?! This song still slaps today, and if you’ve been paying attention, the group is making a killing off this song in advertisements! It’s just got a timeless, cool vibe!
I ran across this video during my research, and this, to me, shows just how after all these years, the group still has that magic that keeps them together and keeps their fans wanting more, generation after generation. It’s a beautiful thing!
Where Is Digable Planets Now?
From what I can gather, the group has gotten back together and continues to perform! They performed at ESSENCE Festival in 2020, and according to their website, they have some performances coming up!
Although they may separate and come back together again, I think Mecca said it best when she said this: “We haven’t stopped loving the magic that we have together. Right now we’re just in the moment, in the present, enjoying each day as it comes.”
Here’s to hoping the magic continues!
Where To Find Digable Planets
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