Monday, March 9, 2009

Hip-hop innovators Digable Planets, Common Market to play Pearl Street Ballroom Friday, March 27th, 9PM

When hip-hop trio Digable Planets emerged in the early ‘90s, their memorable moniker raised eyebrows. What, exactly, did it mean? The name sprang, they explained, from the notion that “every individual is a planet.” But the unique worlds that their tracks mapped out were not insular ones; as their Grammy-winning hit “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" would prove, the Planets were primed to connect with audiences weary of the aggressive posturing of gangsta rap. Filled with literate lyrics, honey-smooth flow, and inventive arrangements, their albums Reachin' (A New Refutation Of Time And Space) (1993) and Blowout Comb (1994) redefined hip-hop, and set standards for the generation of soul poets and innovative producers that followed, as the anthology Beyond The Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles effortlessly reiterates.

Producer Sabzi (Saba Mohajerjasbi…also of Blue Scholars) and emcee RA Scion (Ryan Abeo) met each other through Seattle’s Baha’i community. Their songs are full of joy, exultation and frustration, with Scion’s intricate tangles of words and thought processes layering into Sabzi’s forward-moving beats. ...with a cadence and voice reminiscent of Talib Kweli, lyricist RA Scion excels at spitting rhymes designed to motivate and educate. Meanwhile, producer Sabzi serves up a bevy of head-bobbing beats featuring dusty soul samples and hard hitting drums. Common Market's new album Tobacco Road is hip-hop at the cutting edge.

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