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Posted on May 6th, 2011 (11:58 am) by Clayton Williamson

After slipping into irrelevance throughout most of the ‘00s, hip-hop veteran Del the Funky Homosapien, a.k.a. Del tha Funkee Homosapien, a.k.a. Teren Delvon Jones, has mounted a comeback album of sorts with Golden Era, via The Council. Though his cousin Ice Cube helped set the stage for his fame in the early ‘90s, Del’s talent has always been recognized on its own merits, leading up to his appearance on the breakout Gorillaz single “Clint Eastwood” in 2001. Yet since that glorious moment Del seemed destined for hip-hop obscurity as he created four tepidly received albums between 2008 and 2010, most of them self-releases sold on a pay-what-you-like scale. Times looked rough for the Homosapien.

From some unknown creative wellspring, Del rediscovered his artistic spark and his most recent LP is proof that he’s still got something worthwhile to spit. Golden Era is, for all intents and purposes, a one-man show, a funky showcase of lyricism that features tight verses and less of the typical machismo you’d expect from the relative of a founder of NWA. There are no ‘70s prog-rock samples, Chemical Brothers loops or Rihanna guest spots within a thousand miles of Golden Era, a true refresher after several years of meaningless dance-rap and Kanye’s megalomaniacal rants.

Golden Era is the way hip-hop used to sound, with the music merely serving as a platform for efficient verses. Despite his missteps in the past, Del’s option to stick to his old school style shows a new fearlessness that other aging MCs refuse to embrace (looking at you, Dr. Dre). Still, when Del raps out the hooks, such as the chorus for “Makes No Sense”, it can feel underwhelming, almost obligatory, as if he’s anxious to get back to the comfort of his verses so he can get back to impressing you.

The better part of 1991 struts through “Raw” with a groove and a rep to maintain, and “Calculate” hits hard as the album’s smooth and shining highlight. If the world at large got a chance to hear the wonderfully hilarious group chorus of “Fallout”, maybe the globe could chill out for a damn second. The beat of “Double Barrel” is a messy industrial wannabe, however, corrupting the clarity of Del’s lyrics in which he ironically states, “My production is up to the task.” He’s correct for the vast majority of the LP, mind you, just not right now.

Golden Era features the hip-hop fundamentals of genuine bravado and rapping skill, and if you come for anything but Del’s lyrical observations, you’ll be disappointed. There are no incredible revelations or sudden innovations, but neither does Del rely on cheap pop riffs or crossover guest artists to make a fresh start. Golden Era is the sound of an MC getting his head straightened out.

Track List:

1. Break The Bank
2. Calculate
3. Double Barrel
4. Makes No Sense
5. One Out Of A Million
6. Pearly Gates
7. Raw
8. Upside Down
9. Descending
10. Fallout

Del the Funky Homosapien - Golden Era
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

67 / 100
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