Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Del The Funkee Homosapien - Eleventh Hour - Def Jux (2008)

It’s been ages (8 years to be exact!) since we’ve had a good taste of rap’s favorite West Coast boho/leftfield don, Del The Funkee Homosapien; when he last made our heads spin on his previous solo album, 2000’s Both Sides of the Brain (Red Urban Records, 2000) and on the futuristic collabo project Deltron 3030’s (75 Ark, 2000)self-titled release with Dan The Automator, Kid Koala and Blur’s Damon Albarn. This time around on Eleventh Hour (Def Jux, 2008), Ice Cube’s cousin (yeah that’s right!) hooks up with the Def Jux squad and label honcho El-P to release his long-overdue follow up to Both Sides of the Brain, where he brings his trademark voice and spacey wordplay to a solid release that loses a few points in the production department.

Del starts off strong with album opener “Raw Sewage” where he flows over a horn-infused West Coast throwback complemented by some record scratching that harkens back to the mid-90s when Del was repping Oakland with his cohorts Souls of Mischief. He quickly reminds us why he doesn’t fit in to rap’s currently bloated braggadocio mold, and instructs us that he’s simply here for a good time, “Salutations,now you face it / A real D-E-L / I don’t feel bigger / Up here on stage / Man I keep it real with ya / I’m here to entertain y’all / Let’s play ball”.

Del is in his comfort zone on tracks like “Hold Your Hand” which has the Bay-Area emcee flowing over a sunny G-Funk beat that would make either Kurupt or even Cube sound right at home on also. On album closer “Funkyhomosapien” Del finishes off correct when he pairs his obscure couplets with a next level beat that sounds like a cut that should have made the Deltron 3030 release. The track is a perfect example of how Del’s left-field subject matter and laid-back persona when combined with a future-funk beat result in a dope track. Plain and simple.

If there is a bone to pick with Eleventh Hour, it’s that the beats could have used a shot in the arm. Del himself handled the bulk of production (with a few assists from cats like J-Zone, Opio and KU) and it remains a mystery why he didn’t take advantage of the production skills available to him from Def Jux label mates like El-P or Blockhead. All in all, Del’s latest effort is a great soundtrack to those lazy, hazy summer days ahead of us. Hyphy this ain’t. It’s a throwback/fast forward rap attack mixed with a little crazy. Go on try it. You might just like it.

Rating: 7/10

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