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Del The Funkee Homosapien: 11th Hour

Del The Funkee Homosapien was once an outer-space hip-hop trailblazer, focused on absurdist rhymes and sci-fi storytelling. Though a cousin of Ice Cube and onetime member of the Da Lench Mob, he abandoned his mentors' gangsta tropes but maintained their Parliament-influenced West Coast musical flavor on his 1991 debut I Wish My Brother George Was Here, reaching a creative peak with 2000's Deltron 3030. But other than releasing a greatest-hits album and appearing on tracks with Gorillaz and his crew Hieroglyphics, since then Del has fallen off the rap map, instead studying music theory and feuding with an ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately, would-be comeback 11th Hour lacks his signature flavor. "I bet I reach even the hardest G's, cause my artistry ain't too hard to see," he raps on "Bubble Pop," an example of the fairly grounded bravado that informs much of 11th Hour. The mid-tempo, scratch-heavy grooves are grounded in simple bass and keyboard rhythms, mainly serving as repositories for Del's fairly bland lyrics. The tracks that succeed are the ones that stand apart musically, such as "Hold Your Hand," which employs a comforting G-funk loop and cough-syrup-hazy chorus. Still, what happened to the lovably weird Del?

 
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