Jazz has again begun to find its way into mainstream Hip-Hop. With the success of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, more artists have started to incorporate the classic brass and string jazz sound. On this day in Hip Hop history, one of the first jazz-fusion Hip-Hop albums, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) was released by Brooklyn-based trio Digable Planets in 1993.
Peaking at #81 on the Billboard 200, this successful debut introduced a fresh new element to the boom-bap scene in New York. With members hailing from all corners of the country (Butterfly from Seattle, Ladybug Mecca from Washington D.C., and Doodlebug from Philadelphia), Digable Planets was able to bring a unique flair to the conscious rap game. Although not as overtly political as the group follow up album, this project does touch on some controversial subjects such as abortion rights and artistic drug abuse. The album’s hit single “The Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” has become a Hip Hop classic. By peaking at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 500,000 copies in a year, and winning the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group, this single cemented its place in music history. The song is still used to this day in various advertisements, TV shows, and movies.