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Digable Planets

Butterfly and Doodlebug of Digable Planets, performing in 2009
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz rap
Alternative hip hop
Acid Jazz
Years active 1992–1995
Labels Pendulum, Blue Note
Ladybug Mecca

Digable Planets is a Grammy Award-winning American Alt Hip Hop group based in New York City, composed of Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler (from Seattle), Craig "Doodlebug" Irving (from Philadelphia), and Mary Ann "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira (from Washington, D.C.). They were backed by Silkworm, who later embarked on a solo career under the name King Britt.




Digable Planets' fusion of jazz and hip hop received excellent reviews and solid sales with the release of its debut album, Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space), in 1993, which was certified gold by the RIAA. The album's lead single, "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)," in 1994 became a crossover hit, peaking at #15 on Billboard magazine's singles chart, earning gold certification by the RIAA, and winning the Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

Its second album, Blowout Comb, was released in 1994 (see 1994 in music). A distinct departure from the sound that initially made them a success, many of the white fans they had earned felt confused and alienated by the album's pro-black, militant slant, resulting in disappointing sales. The trio soon broke up due to creative differences, as well as the deaths of both of Ladybug's parents due to unrelated illnesses. However, a retrospective album Beyond the Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles was released in 2005, which included previously unreleased recordings.

The Planets played at BB King's in Times Square, NYC on 10/8/2008 and announced that a new album would be released in 2008.


Butler established a hip-hop/blues act called Cherrywine; after failing to release a solo album "Ishmael Since 1999." Cherrywine's album Bright Black was released in 2003 to a lackluster reception. He also starred in the short films "I am Ali" and "We Deliver." Silkworm has an established solo career under the name King Britt, and occasionally partners with The Roots' Ahmir-Khalib “Questlove” Thompson. Doodlebug is now known as Cee Knowledge and tours with a band called Cee Knowledge & the Cosmic Funk Orchestra that released two albums in limited edition on FarmHouse Records. Ladybug, now known as Ladybug Mecca, has also embarked on a solo career, releasing an album Trip The Light Fantastic in 2005 on her label Nu Paradigm Entertainment with her partner Nkosi Gray. Ladybug Mecca has also guest appeared on Legacy/Sony's Billie Holiday Remixed & Reimagined Album. Remixers include Tony Humphries, DJ Logic, Nickodemus & Zeb, Jazzy Nice, Organica, and many more. Roland Richards and Ladybug Mecca liven up “Spreadin' Rhythm Around” with a “hip-hop meets swing” anthem. In 2008 Ladybug Mecca has lent her talent to eMC (Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth, Stricklin) on the title track "The Show" and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien's 11thour Album on the song "I Got You". April 1, 2008 marks the release of her collaboration with the likes of Legendary producer Prince Paul, Chali 2na (Jurrasic 5), Ursula Rucker, Scratch (The Roots) and Wordsworth (eMC) on Baby Loves Hip Hop's The Dino-5 Children's CD which is a " Book on Tape" through Ropeadope Records. Ladybug Mecca is the voice of Tracey Triceratops, the leader of The Dino 5 as well as the "interrupting child".

In February 2005 the trio reunited and embarked on a reunion tour, with a compilation album released on October 15, 2005.

The group announced another reunion tour in February 2009 with performance dates in March and April of 2009. In a statement released on March 19, 2009 on the group's MySpace page, Butterfly reported that the Digable Planets Summer Reunion tour is off.

Butterfly has a son named Jazz from a previous relationship with Coko of SWV. According to the Digable Planets' Official MySpace page, maintained by Butterfly, Lady Bug Mecca was not able to continue as a member of the DP's due to contract issues and poor management.




  • "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" (1992)
  • "Where I'm From" (1993)
  • "Nickel Bags" (1993)
  • "9th Wonder (Blackitolism)" (1994)
  • "9th Wonder (Slicker This Year) Mad Slicker Remixes" (1994)
  • "Dial 7 (Axioms of Creamy Spies)" (1995)


  • The Digable Planets' single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" was sampled by West Coast/Hyphy Movement artist E-40 for his song "Yay Area" on his 2006 album, My Ghetto Report Card.
  • "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" was featured in the 2007 drama Freedom Writers.
  • The song "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" is featured in a 2009 TV commercial by Tide to promote its laundry detergent formulated to work with cold water.
  • "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" was parodied in the episode of Billy Nye The Science Guy titled "Phases of Matter". The name of the song was changed to "Solid Liquid Gas" and the artist was credited as Phaze Change.

External links

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