Musical Alphabet: D (Best Album Ever Edition)

I hadn’t planned to do another musical alphabet post so soon, but I was just taking a preliminary run through the “D” artists in my iTunes. I was thinking about how hard it is to just pick two or three tracks from among so many greats— Dylan, Miles, Nick Drake, De la Soul, the Dead Kennedys (umph), Dead Meadow, Claude Debussy, Depeche Mode, the Dirty Projectors, DJ Shadow…

Then I ran across the only track I could possibly post, and I figured I may as well go ahead.

If you tried to figure out which album in my collection is the very best album ever by focusing on objective criteria like number of track listens, number of whole album listens, length of time the album has been in rotation and the amount of that time it has been in heavy rotation, then Blowout Comb, by the Digable Planets, is easily in the top five. Where their debut album was cute and clever, Blowout Comb tones down the precious and trades in the bebop samples for some gritty funk and NYC nativism. Dre’s Chronic was less than two years old when Blowout Comb was released; Warren G’s Regulate… was still news. But the Planets and producers put together a sound that seemed to come from some time much later in hip hop history, when the pitfalls of G-funk had been identified and getting it right was easy. A few years ago it still seemed fresh, and even today it’s a little hard to tell from cues in the music when the album was produced.

I had never seen this Digable Planets video before tonight, and I like it. I got a pretty good laugh at Mecca rolling her eyes as she reaches one of the weakest rhymes in the track (near the end, just before the Jazzy Joyce cameo). For your viewing pleasure, the Digable Planets’ “9th Wonder (Blackitolism)” (viewing in High Quality recommended):

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