Bay Area MC makes a Gem City stop to drop some Hip-Hop
By Wu W.A.N.G.
Del The Funky Homosapien’s mellow phone style reveals that he’s very comfortable with himself and where music has taken him. He’s been hitting the stage to rock shows during the Lyricist Lounge and Rock The Bells tours, taking the stage with Freestyle Fellowship recently. He’s made stops on tour with Method Man, Mos Def and Talib Kweli (Black Star), hitting spots in New Jersey and Los Angeles. Del tours often, but recently put that on hold after 20 years. Fast-forward to “now-ish,” Del is touring with Dan the Automator and DJ Kid Koala for the trio’s project “Deltron 3030.”
You came up during the infant stage of West Coast Gangster rap, rival gangs (Crips and Bloods). How did those events motivate you?
You know what? That stuff was kinda going on in the background, but in the early eighties I heard some other artists doing hip-hop. That’s what motivated me. -Del
What was going on at that time?
It (hip-hop) was music I had never heard. Plus the fact that I wrote poetry, I was DJing and already playing music, so hip-hop for me was a natural thing, and it had that street element. -D
What is your definition of hip-hop?
What it was to me, is kinda not there anymore, after a certain point is this music really still hip-hop? I see it evolving, but staying in the same.-D
So you notice a difference with hip-hop now versus earlier?
As far as rappers, people are in on the joke. Before, the kids were looking to rappers to find truth because hip-hop was thought to be authentic. The sound of old-school production still sounds like basement beats but the new music is “hyper-produced.” -D
What’s your connection to Dayton?
Actually, I just did a mixtape called “The Drama Show,” with Unjust (Justin Herman), from Dayton. He’s been in the Bay for about nine years.-D
Who are your favorite MCs?
Basically, I like rappers for what they do. MCs like Special Ed, he got his own sound, style and science to his lyrics, or Redman. But I can’t play favorites, cause if you’re dope, then you’ll be one of my favorites. I bought all the records that came out from the early eighties to the late nineties, but it’s Redman, Eric Sermon, Rakim and Biz Markie. -D
Would you argue for or against the end of the art of freestyle rhyming?
I don’t think it is. Freestyling is doing its own separate thing, just watch YouTube. People are treating it like a real sport. Shows like Grindtime out here in California where they battle, are getting big. But it’s hard for people to take you seriously if you freestyle too much. It’s more full-on spoken-word, with theatrics, but it’s dope though. -D
What music project would you like to get involved with next?
Music theory, I’m steady comin’ up with new ideas for songs, makin’ beats, that’s all I do. Electronic music is what I’m really into too. I mean hip-hop is electronic music. You can’t put out radio music without it having some elements of electronic music. Everything on the radio now blows the old styles of production away. I’m more into new methods of music production because I understand it. -D
How have you managed to juggle your underground status and commercial gains?
To me, being underground is some shit people are not supposed to know about, like dope dealing or the mafia, shit like prostitution. We do have certain music that sometimes it will be some shit only certain people know about. -D
Why do artists end up being remorseful after signing with a label?
It’s a whole new world now and the labels are way behind the game. They want a piece of everything and they want you to already have some hit singles before they even talk to you. –D
How would you describe the Bay Area hip-hop sound?
It was the next step after groups like Sly and the Family Stone, Tower of Power and Herbie Hancock. We “vibed” off records from that time on the West Coast. –D
So it was a hip-hop meets West Coast hippie vibe?
Well, we weren’t gangsters, we had on colorful clothes with that street vibe. We were part of that experience so it influenced us. We had gangsters but they “banged” out on each other over turf and money. -D
So what’s the word on recent video game projects?
I just scored the in-game music for “Skate 3.” That gave me my first chance at doing more than just donating two or three hit singles. -D
Where can we get new music from you?
I keep up with the mixtape audience, that’s where all the “dope” music is being made. I make my own mixtapes and have them on my website at www.delthefunkyhomosapien.com. -D
Del The Funky Homosapien will perform with DJ Zach Hendrix on Sunday, Oct. 28 at One Eyed Jacks, 2638 Colonel Glenn Hwy. in Fairborn. Also on the bill are Bukue 1, Chosen Few, Village Fam, and special guests. Presale tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Omega Records, Toxic Beauty Records, Clash Consignments, One Love Skate Shop. Tickets are $25 at the door. For more information visit www.delthefunkyhomosapien.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Wu W.A.N.G. at WuW.A.N.G.@daytoncitypaper.com