Rolling Stone - 2/18/93, p.604 Stars
- Excellent - "...[Digable Planets] methodically strip hip-hop to the bone with Afro-chic witticisms backed by a trunkload of retro jazz and funk beats...everything hip-hop should be: artistically sound, unabashedly conscious and downright cool..."
Entertainment Weekly - 2/5/93, p.54
"...this sexually mixed trio creates an ultrahip, deliberately fuzzy, retro universe...DP's brand of funk floats along on air-spun smoothness..." - Rating: B+
Q - 5/93, p.923 Stars
- Good - "...suffused with a self-consciously cool, controlled energy...there's supple funk and soft soul blended into the mix, too..."
Down Beat - 6/93, p.384.5 Stars
- Very Good Plus - "...Digable Planets manages to make a seamless and inventive style-leaping statement, although the handiwork is all in the rapping and the sampling..."
The Source - 3/93, p.803.5 Stars
- Very Good - "...a loving blend of jazz, old school hip-hop, Five Percent perspectives and off-center beatnik rhymes...the cool cat sound of jazz-hop is very much alive...12 tracks of pure peace vibes...both substantive and relaxing..."
Option - 5-6/93, p.99
"...the music [on REACHIN'...] goes straight for the unconscious: it's like elevator music, yet all the ice in the world couldn't freeze out the seductive sensuality of these raps..."
Village Voice (3/1/94, p.5) - Ranked #10
in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Village Voice (3/9/93, p.80) - "...The airy delicacy of their sampled groove seems magically hyper-real in this pop context, transforming Butterfly and Doodle's weakness into wit and Lady Bug's samba-like skippity-skip into a come-on that's equal parts sexuality and self-respect..." - Rating: A
NME (Magazine) - 2/13/93, p.31
8 - Excellent - "...Digable Planets are instantly likeable, delicious sounding and supremely strange...take[s] the artistry and excitement of the hip-hop nation into another stage of development..."
Digable Planets: Butterfly, Doodle, Ladybug.
Additional personnel: Scientific Homiez (programming).
Producers: Butterfly, Shane "The Doctor" Faber, Mike Mangini.
Recorded at the Sound Doctor Studio, North Bergen, New Jersey.
Personnel: Doodlebug, Ladybug Mecca (vocals).
Recording information: Palatial Sound Doctor Studio & Resort, North Bergen, NJ.
In 1993, Digable Planets redefined the potential of hip-hop with this truly refreshing and unique groove opus. Claiming themselves heirs to the "brothers from outer space" mantel adopted by Sun Ra and such acts as Parliament/Funkadelic before them, the Planets serve up a psychedelicised jazz/hip-hop concoction over which Doodlebug, Ladybug, and Butterfly roll their sophisticated, mellifluous rhymes. While jazz sampling had already reared its head in hip-hop, the Planets were the first to make it an aesthetic. Disembodied snippets of Sonny Rollins (on "Time and Space"), Art Blakey (on "Cool Like Dat," the record's hit single), and others float in and out, merging seamlessly with the smooth beats and bass, while the copious use of echo further heightens the disc's individual sound.
Themes tend toward transcendence and mind expansion, as the subtitle of the album ("A New Refutation Of Time And Space") and the numerous references to chemical recreation ("Nickel Bags" is one of the highlights here) would indicate. With the overwhelming popularity of gangsta and hardcore street rap, REACHIN' only made a minor splash. But in no way does that diminish the creativity and remarkable appeal of this record.