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DEL THE FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN: Funkman – 2009 – Album review

[rating: 2]

On paper this sounded excellent – it was full of western promise. Del, the man with ‘funky’ in his name, the man who dropped Mistadobalina back in the day, the man whose discography includes two of the dopest old school LPs ever, was going to drop an LP called Funkman! News of this was swiftly followed by the ‘stimulus package address’ video shot in grainy black and white with funky president Sir DZL speaking to the hip-hop nation over a Hendrix-style guitar re-working of Hail To The Chief boldly claiming,”…for all of you who have been waiting, listening to hip hop and being so frustrated because of lack of funk – I’m here to bring your funk back to you.”
Ah yes, things were sounding good – and yet, somehow, during the making of Funkman one crucial thought apparently failed to occur to brave Sir DZL, for with this release, Del is the artist/producer equivalent of the man approaching the airport who has yet to realise that his passport’s still on the bed. I know it takes him an age to get an album out but surely one of his mates could have pointed out that this doesn’t have a single decent hook on it.
Noticeably the videogame sounds that characterised No Need For Alarm and last LP Eleventh Hour have been almost totally replaced and the cuts certainly draw from the funk but – correct me if I’m wrong – funk’s all about the dancefloor isn’t it? And the dancefloor likes hooks and beats that make asses move. So first track (and recent promo single) Get It Right Now takes two wrong turns immediately. Singularly bad because of its annoying, atonal, lyrics-drowning car-alarm loop it highlights an issue with the whole LP – the fact that the production is so busy and layered that it detracts from the raps. And They Thought It Was Hell gets a better uptempo beat, (though maybe it just seems better because a lot of the others fail to light any fires) but no hook. Go Against The Grain has an intrusive high-hat that ruins a good clavinet riff, King Of Fighters (the one obvious nod to videogames) is plain boring and so on and so forth until almost the end of the album. Normally an arena for filler or the experimental this is where the determined listener will find Straight From The Big Bad West Coast rolling over a monstrous synth bass and Del considering California’s place in hip-hop’s history – “You thought niggers were surfers/ You never got close enough to see where the dirt was”. Last up is Young Adrenaline which has the least cluttered production on Funkman and, trust me, it feels like a relief.
I don’t want to hate on Del, but even the better parts of this feel like the bits of No Need For Alarm or Both Sides Of The Brain that you’re tempted to skip.

Download – Del: Funkman

Del – Myspace

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