Del The Funkee Homosapien and Parallel Thought: ”ËAttractive Sin’ (Parallel Thought LTD)
The rap artist Del The Funkee Homosapien has been making music now for over 20 years &, apart from his debut album, has yet to receive much attention. His latest release, however, could be set to change that for as Colin McCracken reports, it’s one of the best rap releases of the year.
I first heard Del The Funkee Homosapien almost 20 years ago when he collaborated with Dinosaur Jr on the track ”ËMissing Link’ from the essential hybrid album that was the ”ËJudgement Night’ soundtrack. His bizarre and unique voice seemed somewhat outside of the hip hop norm of the day, which was still in the throes of wallowing in both extreme gangster fantasies and astute socio-political commentary.
Close to two decades later and Del never really got his dues. His first album ”ËI Wish My Brother George Was Here’ was critically acclaimed and well received by the record buying public, partly in thanks to the hit single ”ËMistadobalina’, but he later disappeared into relative obscurity after being dropped by Elektra in the late 90’s.
The mainstream’s loss became the underground’s gain, as this allowed the Oakland rapper to experiment and produce his music in a relatively uncensored and uncontrolled fashion. He had successful collaborations with Dan The Automator and will probably be best known to the masses as the rapper on ”ËGorillaz’ breakthrough single ”ËClint Eastwood’ (he appeared on their debut album under the moniker ”ËDel The Ghost Rapper’). His unsual, acid drenched lyrics and creative delivery are not in keeping with the nursery rhyme plodding favoured by the less astute rappers who often attain greater (and wholly undeserved) credit. Del is more along the lines of Kool Keith or Madlib, a lyrical adventurer with a penchant for jazzy, upbeat grooves which form an infectious and compelling overall sound.
His latest collaboration with Parallel Thought is an absolute necessity for any true old school hip hop fan, yet there is also something undeniably fresh on offer. Its nonchalance and seemingly effortless construction make for one of the coolest damn records that I have heard in a very long time. It manages to maintain an edge within the smooth samples due to its lyrical strength, which is both clever and intricate.
He references his early days with Ice Cube (who is Del’s first cousin and gave him his big break, writing lyrics for Da Lench Mob), the state of rap today and of course, alludes to his own skills and abilities in a typically tongue in cheek manner. The effect is one which brings the listener back to the glory days of hip hop without imposing unnecessary nostalgia or needlessly re-treading old ground. In short, ”ËAttractive Sin’ is a fantastic album and comes highly recommended.
Ã¯Â¿Â¼We may not be getting the summer we’ve been promised, but one listen to this will create an image of barbeques, lounging and beers. This is a record which manages to breathe new life into a faltering genre and it’s a delight to hear it.