To set the record straight, it wasn’t oversized egos that broke up Digable Planets. But it certainly was high-school behavior.
“You know how you have your girlfriend when you’re in high school and you break up?” asked Ladybug Mecca, the group’s lone female member. “Then five years later you run into each other and it’s all good? That’s why we broke up, just growing.”
After a 10-year hiatus, the Planets, who recorded 1993’s Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and the following year’s Blowout Comb, have reunited to record a third, still-untitled album. They toured Europe in February, recently played Los Angeles’ sizable El Rey theater to adoring fans and are gearing up for a jaunt through the States later this year.
Before that party gets started, though, Ladybug is dropping her solo debut, Trip the Light Fantastic, on June 7.
After winning a Grammy Award for “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” the Planets mutually agreed to split. Butterfly released Bright Black under the moniker Cherrywine in 2003; Doodlebug became Cee Knowledge, releasing 2002’s Space Is the Place; and Ladybug worked on her own solo effort.
Signing with the ill-fated, now-defunct Red Ant label, she wound up taking a few years to escape her recording contract. Since then, she’s had four children and found another indie home, Nu-Paradigm Entertainment, through which she’s releasing her eclectic Fantastic.
“There wasn’t a conscious effort to be eclectic,” Ladybug said. “My album is just a representation of me. My parents are Brazilian. My mother was a Brazilian jazz singer and my father was a jazz musician. So I always wanted to incorporate those samba rhythms.”
Fantastic runs the gamut of styles, including samba, hip-hop, jazz and rock, and the wordsmith Ladybug both raps and sings. With just one guest appearance, by soul guitarist Martin Luther, she hopes her fans will enjoy her pure expression.
“I’ll be doing one-offs and a college tour this fall,” she said. “We just had a show in Los Angeles and it was just like riding a bike.”