WTOP caught up with Digable Planets co-founder Craig “Doodlebug” Irving forward of headlining the out of doors live performance Jazz & Blossoms Park Jam this Sunday in D.C.

Digable Planets Portrait Session backstage Neptune Theater, Seattle Washington August 9, 2019. L to R: Craig “Doodlebug” Irving, Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira and Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler
(Bruce W. Talamon)

Bruce W. Talamon

Digable Planets after they first fashioned.
(Courtesy Digable Planets)

Courtesy Digable Planets

Digable Planets at Rock the Bells
(Courtesy Digable Planets)

Courtesy Digable Planets

Members of the band Digable Planets, from left, Ladybug, Doodlebug and Butterfly, celebrate backstage after winning the Grammy for the best rap performance by a duo or group for "Rebirth of Slick," at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards ceremonies Tuesday, March 1, 1994, at the New York's Radio City Music Hall. (AP Photo/Mike Albans)
Members of the band Digable Planets, from left, Ladybug, Doodlebug and Butterfly, rejoice backstage after successful the Grammy for the very best rap efficiency by a duo or group for “Rebirth of Slick,” on the thirty sixth Annual Grammy Awards ceremonies Tuesday, March 1, 1994, on the New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
(AP Photo/Mike Albans)

AP Photo/Mike Albans

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Digable Planets at Franklin Park (Part 1)

Grammy-winning hip-hop trio Digable Planets headlines the Jazz & Blossoms Park Jam this Sunday in D.C.

WTOP caught up with co-founder Craig “Doodlebug” Irving forward of the out of doors live performance in Franklin Park.

“We’re gonna rock out, do some improvisational stuff as a result of using the band permits us the liberty of house to do another issues,” Irving instructed WTOP. “We take a few of our songs that you just’re aware of and stretch them out, take them to totally different universes and go different locations with them, so it’s gonna be a loopy expertise. If you’re into the Digable Planets sound and also you’re into experimental jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, you’ll get pleasure from your self.”

Before Digable Planets, Irving was a member of the Philly rap group Dread Poets Society earlier than assembly Ishmael Butler, who grew up in Seattle, and Mariana Vieira, who hails from Silver Spring, Maryland.

“I used to be going to Howard University within the mid 80s and whereas I used to be there on the hip-hop scene, I met her, she was a part of a hip-hop dance crew,” Irving mentioned. “During that point additionally, I’m in faculty, so at any time when there’s a sizzling faculty social gathering up and down the East Coast, I used to be there. … Quite a lot of these locations I might see Ishmael Butler, ‘Butterfly,’ going to school on the East Coast at UMass. His grandmother lived in Philly across the nook from my grandmother.”

When Digable Planets fashioned in Philadelphia in 1987, Irving modified his rap alias from Cee Knowledge to the brand new nickname Doodlebug, whereas Butler adopted the moniker Butterfly and Vieira turned Ladybug Mecca.

“[Butler] began explaining to us the idea of the group, the insect idea, it’s all for one, one for all inside the insect neighborhood, it’s not about ego, all the pieces is completed for the great of the hive,” Irving mentioned. “I used to be like, ‘Damn, an insect? I don’t know. What insect would I be?’ Eventually, I’m chilling with pals watching kung fu flicks and blaxploitation motion pictures and got here throughout ‘Cleopatra Jones’ … the top of this gang was named Doodlebug.”

In 1993, Digable Planets launched a profitable first album “Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space).”

“Every individual is a planet, we management our personal world,” Irving mentioned. “In the jazz world, to ‘dig’ was a part of the vernacular of that period, so we needed to mix all of the issues, our philosophy of life, of everyone being their very own individual, self-sufficient, a necessary being that controls their very own life and makes their very own choices. … When he introduced it to me I used to be like, ‘Digable Planets? That’s wild,’ and once I sat and let it soak up, I assumed, ‘That’s dope.’”

The album’s smash single “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” easily sampled “Stretching” by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, topping the rap charts and crossing over to achieve No. 15 on the Billboard singles chart. The tune received the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Group, beating Arrested Development’s “Revolution,” Cypress Hill’s “Insane within the Brain,” Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg’s “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” and Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray.”

“I can nonetheless really feel that feeling I bought when my supervisor sat in his workplace and named the entire nominees,” Irving mentioned. “I used to be like, ‘Yo, we’ve no probability of successful this!’ I can’t imagine that we’re even named in the identical breath as these unimaginable individuals. I’m followers of all of them! It was only a second in time, it caught some type of fireplace within the trade. … When they known as our identify that night time, I went clean like, ‘What?’ I swore Snoop and Dre had been gonna win that.”

Their second album “Blowout Comb” (1994) was much less profitable, however he stays happy with it.

“We had been simply doing what we needed to do,” Irving mentioned. “As an artist, it’s not about what the followers need, it’s what you do and you then invite the followers into your world: ‘Here, that is me, that is who I’m at this second in time, if you happen to prefer it, bounce on and roll with us.’ … ‘Blowout Comb’ was our probability to indicate who we had been and the way we actually thought by way of society and politics. … It’s critically acclaimed, it simply didn’t do as effectively in document gross sales.”

The group sadly broke up in 1995 earlier than reuniting in 2005 to proceed touring to at the present time.

“You have lots of people in your ear telling you ways nice you’re and also you don’t want this individual,” Irving mentioned. “Something fractured the connection that we had to start with and opened the door to lots of evils and insecurities that created partitions round every of us. … Ten years later, we bought again collectively. … In a world the place you may get forgotten actual fast, I can’t imagine that individuals nonetheless keep in mind who we’re and need to hear what we do.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Digable Planets at Franklin Park (Part 2)

Hear our full dialog on the podcast under:

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