They regrouped for a long-in-coming reunion at this year’s Lollapalooza, but when around for real, the caramel-smooth Digable Planets lasted for just two albums before dissolving in 1996. This posthumous collection, therefore, reiterates greatest hits and a smattering of curios from imports and 12-inches, and though the music’s held up fantastically, it sort of makes you wonder, er, why now?
If nothing else, “Creamy Spy” does prove that the Planets’ ultra-chill, jazzified and lyrically erudite Sunday morning hip-hop comes without any kind of time stamp, particularly on “Nickel Bags” and the super-funky “Dog It” and, of course, “Rebirth of Slick.”
Verses from Doodlebug, Butterfly and Ladybug are handed back to back like a cup of coffee, with all the seeming effort of a lacing up their Timberlands. Digable’s appeal when they broke in the early ’90s was their role as laid-back-the-point-of-absurdity antagonists to the gangsta rap stomping all over the hip-hop scene, so it’s certainly welcome now. It’s unclear what has brought these chronicles out in 2005, but any excuse to nod your head to some Digable is a good one.