“The 11th Hour Of Del The Funky Homosapien”
An Interview with DEL THE FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN
Interview by Todd E. Jones (aka The New Jeru Poet)
Del The Funky Homosapien states, “Time is too expensive.” A true hip-hop legend, Del has maintained his credibility and eccentric nature through his consistent musical evolution. He knows what his “love is worth”. Cousin of Ice Cube and leader of Hieroglyphics, Del has earned a mythical reputation due to his work as a solo artist, producer, and in side projects.
Released on Elektra Records, his 1991 debut album, “I Wish My Brother George Was Here” spawned the hit, “Mistadobalina”. His sophomore 1993 album (also released on Elektra), “No Need For Alarm” displayed a major growth with an extremely brutal edge. The thick grooves and sharp melodies coincided with Del’s signature flow and aggressive lyrics. “No Need For Alarm” included the classic tracks “Catch A Bad One”, “Wrongplace”, “Wack MC’s”, and “Boo Boo Heads”. One specific track, “Worldwide” claimed to feature a pre-teen emcee named Unicron. The mysterious and aggressive Unicron was actually Del performing through vocal effects. Many people still believe that the kid was a real person. As Del continued to artistically evolve, Elektra Records did not share his vision. Although Del completed his third album “Future Development”, Elektra refused to release the recording.
With the help of his own wisdom and his crew’s loyalty, Del decided to take the road of independence by creating the label, Hieroglyphics Imperium. The funky human being has been traveling the independent road ever since. Hieroglyphics Imperium was one of the first independent hip-hop labels that successfully utilized the Internet. The company has set the standard for profitable independent hip-hop labels on the web. As a crew, Hieroglyphics consist of Souls Of Mischief, Casual, Pep-Love, Jay-Biz, Domino, and others. A multi-dimensional artist, Del began to also produce beats for himself and his fellow artists. The debut crew album, “3rd Eye Vision” by Hieroglyphics was a classic collection of tracks that made Del fans yearn for his next solo effort. Del staked his claim on a variety of tracks including “You Never Knew”, “The Who”, and “No Nuts”. His solo track, “At The Helm” was one of the strongest and most memorable songs on the album. The follow up Hieroglyphics album, “Full Circle” displayed an overall maturity from the entire crew.
The new millennium marked Del’s resurrection. Not only did he begin to study music composition, but he also began to learn other languages. His solo album, “Both Sides Of The Brain” was unique project with wild electronic hip-hop beats. A lover of video games, Del produced the majority of the album inspired by the video game sound. “Proto Culture” is a track where Del expressed his love for video games. The song, “Catch All This” was actually used for a video game. Guest producers for “Both Sides Of The Brain” included Casual, A-Plus, Domino, and Prince Paul. Guests included Casual, El-P, Khaos Unique, and A-Plus.
Side projects continued to be an essential element of Del’s success. Released almost simultaneously with “Both Sides Of The Brain”, Del released a side project with Dan The Automator and Kid Koala. The concept album, “Deltron 3030” (75 Ark Records) is a magnificent timeless classic in the form of a space opera. Stand out tracks included “Madness”, “Virus”, “Positive Contact”, and “Things You Can Do”. Guests included Damon Albarn (of Blur), Mr. Lif, MC Paul Barnum, and others. His most successful work to date was on the self-titled Gorillaz album. Songs like “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock The House” earned him money, respect, and exposure. Del also worked on both Handsome Boy Modeling School albums. His contribution to the “Think Differently: Wu-Tang Meets Indie Culture” LP (Babygrande Records) was also a shining moment. Del toured with Haiku D’etat and Zion I, which led to the compilation CD and DVD “Calicomm 2004”. Del remained extremely prolific without releasing a full-length album.
Del The Funky Homosapien is on the verge of his next chapter of artistic creativity. Del recently released “The 11th Hour” DVD. The film features live performances, documentary footage, interviews, and more. The absorbing DVD hides nothing from the fans. Del emotionally expresses himself without holding back. He discusses the music industry, Gorillaz, money, family, relationships, violence, sex shops, food, and more. We get to see where and how he creates his own music. The film is an intense portrait of an inimitably creative individual.
As the Summer of ends, the year of 2006 begins to die. On a late weekday afternoon in September 2006, I had an in-depth dialogue with legendary funky homosapien, known as Del. Like his DVD, Del had no problems expressing himself, stating his opinions, or letting his guard down. Without a gimmick or a fake persona, Del is one of the most down to earth and realest artists I have interviewed. We discussed independent labels, his music, relationships, technology, hip-hop, and a myriad of other topics.
As “The 11th Hour” approaches, Del The Funky Homosapien has a plethora of new projects in the works. The audio album, “The 11th Hour” will soon be released. Del is also working on another Deltron 3030 project too. The more Del studies music composition and music technology, the more he becomes a well-rounded artist. “Time Is Too Expensive” but, Del tries to utilize every single second.
TODD E. JONES: “What goes on?”
DEL THE FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN: “I just wiped out an HD filled with all of my work and applications that I owned. A Hard Drive, a Lacie Firewire drive about 200 gigabytes worth of music, applications, from like the last 5-6 years… gone. So, I’m just shook up. I’m trying to recover the drive now.”
TODD E. JONES: “In your new DVD, ‘The 11th Hour’ displays how you truly engulfed yourself in music technology. How did this happen? What inspired this? Since there are so many programs and hardware to utilize, where did you begin?”
DEL: “Yeah, I been computer literate since 5 or 6th grade. Well, reading about computer programming, I saw what was going to be the new wave of composing. A lot was just being aware of what the advances were in music. A lot of different theories.”
TODD E. JONES: “Your new DVD, ‘The 11th Hour’ was just released. Tell us about it.”
DEL: “Me and Grant, the director of the DVD, just kind of let it formulate and come together, naturally. He thought that my lifestyle was interesting enough to do. The DVD centered around it, as opposed to just tour footage that I pulled from different places, helped me formulate my own theories.”
TODD E. JONES: “You get very personal on the ‘The 11th Hour’ DVD. Was this an intentional move?”
DEL: “Naw, I’m just open. Once you get to know me, I really don’t have nothing to hide.”
“You get very personal on the ‘ DVD. Was this an intentional move?” TODD E. JONES: “What happened to that crazy girl who came after you with a knife?”
DEL: “We got into mad stuff. We could’ve killed each other. I eventually moved to the crib I got here to get away from her because she was going to get it, eventually. She did mad stuff. The worst was hanging herself in my garage… twice.”
TODD E. JONES: “When she hung herself, did you save her or did someone else save her? What happened?”
DEL: “I saved her, although I hate to say it like that, like I’m some superhero.”
TODD E. JONES: “After you released the album, ‘No Need For Alarm’, did you get some negative reactions about some of your lyrics about women? For example, ‘Boo Boo Heads’ was particularly angry.”
DEL: “A little, but you know, there’s nothing I can do about some chicks and how they do things. Dudes ain’t no better though. I’m equal opportunity dissing.”
TODD E. JONES: “So, are you in a romantic relationship with a woman now? In the ‘Calicomm 2004′ DVD, you were talking about how love is not a big priority for you now.”
DEL: “Yes. I’ve known her since high school. So, we good. She doesn’t really destroy stuff like the other two chicks I was with. So, it’s all good. The last two relationships I were in were more like pimp/ho type relationships, although I wasn’t pimping. I just had to turn on my pimp motor to prevent them from clowning me.”
TODD E. JONES: “Do you think that there can be a balance of power between a man and a woman in a relationship? Or, will one always play the dominant role while the other plays the submissive role?”
DEL: “ Of course! I think women need to be able to submit though, as well as men. But women, definitely, sometimes, need to learn to shut up and listen because a lot of women can’t accept the truth coming out of a dude’s mouth. They got to be right, even if they wrong. Let me elaborate on that thought so that there is no misinterpretation, because there will be anyway. Let me be clear on the subject. A lot of women, because of whatever they have been through with men, do not hold much respect for their word. Therefore, I have been in situations where I may actually be correct, but still, it’s an argument where logic should reign. Notice I said, ‘correct’ and not ‘right’. I don’t believe in right or wrong. That’s opinion. But, a lot of women can’t stand being wrong, like it’s a defeat or something. Even though we all cannot be correct all the time, it’s like giving it up. You know? It’s like ‘Hell naw, n*gga! You still wrong!’ Find something else to drag into the argument, just to be right about something. It’s like denial. Like I said, dudes are just as bad, if not worse. They are the ones who started the chain of events anyway. But, to submit is simply to give someone their respect, ‘Okay, you got that, my bad or error, my mistake.’ Some can never do that. They got a thing about being wrong in front of certain people.”
TODD E. JONES: “‘The 11th Hour’ is also the title of your new album, yet to be released. Tell us about that. Why did you release the DVD first?”
DEL: “Happened that way. No particular reason. Some things just happen. You can’t really plan it all. The album wasn’t finished yet, due to, well, you seen the DVD. More concentration.”
TODD E. JONES: “How is ‘The 11th Hour’ album different from your past albums like ‘No Need For Alarm’ or ‘Both Sides Of The Brain’?”
DEL: “On quality, content, musical consistency, and what people wanted to hear versus what I wanted to express.”
TODD E. JONES: “What is the meaning behind the title, ‘The 11th Hour’?”
DEL: “It’s too late or just in the nick of time. Allah is one. Humans try to dictate the outcome of everything.”
“What is the meaning behind the title, ‘?” TODD E. JONES: “I love the song, ‘Press Rewind’ (featuring Sadat X) on the ‘Both Sides Of The Brain’ LP. What was it like to work with Sadat X? How did the collaboration happen?”
DEL: “That was just a cut. (laughs). But, I know Sadat though. He’s mad cool. I was trying to get him some music production for his next album, as a matter of fact.”
TODD E. JONES: “When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?”
DEL: “As a musician, I usually come up with an inspiration for some kind of musical theme or motive. This is musical or rhythmical. So, not really anything lyrical yet.”
TODD E. JONES: “Each Del album has a signature sound, style, or vibe. How would you describe the sound of ‘The 11th Hour’ LP?”
DEL: “I tried to finally present something more comprehensive. Like, okay, this is Del. Expect this from now on, not every other thing I’m into mixed into one, just Del. Save the rest for other projects like ‘Deltron 3030’. I thought that my fans deserved that. This next Deltron Event 2 is going to be better.”
TODD E. JONES: “I think ‘Deltron 3030‘ was one of the best hip-hop albums in the last 10 years. It is one of my all time favorites.”
DEL: “Thank you.”
TODD E. JONES: “How did the ‘Deltron 3030’ collaboration happen? How did you approach the album? How was the recording process and creative process different from your other work?”
DEL: “Like the Del project, it was more comprehensive, by chance, which is why this time, we are going at it more with a mind on it. I think the people deserve that for they hard earned.”
TODD E. JONES: “Tell us about the 2nd ‘Deltron 3030’ album. Are you still working with the same people?”
DEL: “It’s still me, Dan, and Kid Koala. Dan and Koala are more involved in the theme and motives of this one here. I’m glad they are. I want it to be a group effort. It’s completely different from the last one, but still relative to the space opera theme. Not music-wise really, but theme-wise. This one definitely has more of an underlying theme to it, but it’s kept basic so anyone can enjoy it, like ‘Hunger’ or ‘Greed’.”
TODD E. JONES: “On the song, ‘Power, Money And Influence’ from Guru’s ‘Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures’ album, Talib Kweli remarks that Pro-Tools made producers lazy. Do you agree?”
DEL: “Not really, because