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Del tha Funkee Homosapien 

Eleventh Hour (Def Jux)

Wednesday, Mar 26 2008
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"Never rearrange my stuff to sell units/Do it, then you can't come back again." So claims the Funkee Homosapien on "Raw Sewage," the first track on his battle-rap-laden Def Jux debut. The statement isn't far from the truth, as the Bay Area MC and Hieroglyphics member has remained fiercely independent and unconcerned with hip-hop trends throughout his career. The predominant musical theme on Eleventh Hour is space-age bleep-funk, as exemplified by the pulsing backbeat of "Situations" or swirling synths of "Workin' It." While it's easy to connect the dots from this production tableau to label head El-P's postmodern rap aesthetic, the record was actually finished before Del became an official Def Jukie. It was almost entirely produced and performed by Del himself, although Digable Planet Ladybug Mecca guest-raps and Hiero member Opio provides the beat for "Naked Fonk." On track after track, Del employs his lackadaisical low-end cadence to call out shit-talkers and wack MCs with a ferocity he hasn't shown since No Need for Alarm. But he has a good time even while criticizing, disintegrating into laughter while asking, "Why do you think you're all that when you ain't?" at the end of the excellent "Bubble Pop." Del is truly a purveyor of future hip-hop while keeping his old-school aesthetics intact, and he's arguably one of the most interesting MCs of the indie-rap world.

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Jonah Flicker

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