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Del the Funky Homosapien Biography

Del the Funky Homosapien Biography

Cousin of renowned rapper Ice Cube, Del began his career writing lyrics for Cube's backing band, Da Lench Mob . In 1991, with the help of cousin Ice Cube, Del released his first solo album at 19 years of age, I Wish My Brother George Was Here . The album was a commercial success, largely due to the popularity of the hit single, "Mr. Dobalina." And ultimately Del, who was not pleased with the limited musical range of the album, took matters into his own hands, and severed his production-artist relationship with Ice Cube for his next album, No Need for Alarm. No Need for Alarm also saw the introduction of the famous Oakland clique Hieroglyphics , whose original members included the widely acclaimed Souls of Michief, Casual, Domino, and Pep Love. No Need for Alarm was a bold move on Del's part as it allowed him to develop, display, and solidify his unique style as an MC, and also helped to expose both the regional Oakland sound of hip hop, as well as the freestyle based, "golden era-97" style of hip hop being expanded at the time. Rather than the use of multiple funk samples, including those of Pfunk No Need for Alarm features a bold, classic hip hop sound, often referred to as an updated Oakland version of "Boom Bap," which is a certain archetypal hip hop sound, and because Del and his crew represents Oakland, California. The sound of this album was largely due to the production work of Domino, a producer for the Heiroglyphics crew. The album No Need for Alarm is still today considered one of the greatest albums ever to come out of Del, Heiroglyphics, or Oakland, and is highly reguarded as one of the all time classic albums of hip hop. The instrumental pressings of this record is considered the "holy grail" of hiphop instrumental albums, due to the quality of production on the album and also due to its extremely limited pressing. Due to touring, mundane activites, and frequent psychedelic drug use it would be another five years before the release of his third album. About a month before the release of his third album Future Development Del received an auspicious letter from his label, Elektra, stating that his contract had been terminated

1998 saw the release of Del's third solo album Future Development, the album was only available on the Hieroglyphics website for download, and in tape form in Japan. Future Development was re-released in 2002 under the Heiroglyphics Imperium label. Del also released another collaborative work with the Hieroglyphics crew in 1998, 3rd Eye Vision, it was the Hieroglyphics crew's first album. Two years later, Del released his fourth solo album, Both Sides of the Brain, as well as Deltron 3030 which was a collaborative work with artists Dan “the Automator” Nakamura and Kid Koala. Exposure from the 3030 project helped to expand Del's fan base into incorporating the Anglo-Saxon market, in particular. The 3030 project was marketing genius because the CD captilized on the growing interest of computer technology, incorporating motifs of science fiction, telling stories about life and hip hop based in the year 3030, infusing much of the popular internet terminology and culture in circulation at the time.

Del collaborated with pop-group Gorillaz for two songs on their debut album, both of which became singles: "Clint Eastwood" and "Rock the House". In their cartoon-based videos he is portrayed as a ghost. Del later commented in an interview on the success of "Clint Eastwood" by saying to the interviewer that he actually wrote the song with the book "How to Write a Hit Song," a book that he bought with a coupon his mother gave him. After the song went platinum he gave the plaque to his mother. As part of Russel Hobbs' backstory, the character of Del was one of Russel's friends that was gunned down in a drive-by shooting, whose ghost possessed Russel. When Del was not invited to work on the Demon Days album, a story was written that Del and the other spirits that possessed Russel were exorcised in 2003.

2003 also saw the release of Full Circle, the second full-length album from the Hieroglyphics crew.

In 2004 Elektra released The Best of Del The Funky Homosapien: The Elektra Years -- without the approval of Del. The CD only includes songs from his first two albums, along with a handful of b-sides from that era. Del was not pleased and advised people to not buy the CD, saying it was just Elektra trying to make money off of him due to his newfound fame.

Together with his crew, Del has established his own independent record label, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings, which primarily consists of an expanded Hieroglyphics roster and a few other artists with whom the group collaborates regularly.

Del’s lyrics often reflect his interests, offering humor and themes that differ from most mainstream hip hop, but still reverently adheres to the classic traditions in which hip hop was built from. In 2000, the song "Jaw Gymnastics", featuring Casual, was featured in the game Knockout Kings. In 2000, the song "Positive Contact" from Deltron 3030 was featured in the game Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX. In 2001, the song "If You Must" was featured in the game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. In 2003, the song "Positive Contact" from Deltron 3030 was featured in the game Tony Hawk's Underground. In 2005, the song "At the Helm" featuring Hieroglyphics was featured in the game Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. In 2006, the song "Catch A Bad One" was used in the game Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. Also in 2006 his song "Dr. Bombay" was used in the movie Beerfest and more recently a Hieroglyphics song "At the Helm" was featured in commercials for and is used in Tony Hawk's Project 8. A Hieroglyphics song "Don't Hate the Player" was also featured in NBA 2K7.

Del has also had many songs featured in snowboarding movies. 'Press Rewind' was the song for Eero Ettala's Part in the film White Balance and 'If You Must' was in DC Mountain Lab.

Currently there is a DVD available called 11th Hour, which DVD contains some live footage, footage of him in the studio and around the house, as well as footage of him recording 11th Hour. It will be his first solo album in more than seven years.

According to an interview with Del on the latest edition of the Hierocast, Hiero's official podcast, progress has been made on 11th Hour and the beats and the cuts for the sequel to Deltron 3030 are complete. He also did an Interview on The Breakdown a show on ItsHipHop.tv where he talked about his upcoming projects, his career, Ice Cube, and E40.

Current status on Del's new albums is that 11th Hour will be released first, with the new Deltron album, Deltron Event II being released afterwards. Both albums are expected to be released in 2008.

As of summer 2007, rumors circulated around the internet that "11th Hour" will be released by underground hip hop label Def Jux as opposed to Hiero Imperium. CEO and MC El-P all but confirmed Del's signing recently in a cryptic myspace blog post. Del is also currently on tour with Embedded/Def Jux artists Iller than Theirs and Junk Science. On November 6th, 2007 there was a post on the Definitive Jux website that said: "Del the Funky Homosapien signs with Def Jux! Posted on 11/06/2007 We are proud to announce that the new album from seminal rapper, hip hop icon, and founding member of the mighty Hieroglyphics crew, Del The Funky Homosapien. The 11th Hour, will be released on Definitive Jux on February 26th, 2008. Del is an artist who helped set standard for a new mold of MC/Hip Hop artist in 1991 with the release of I Wish My brother George Was Here, and shortly after with No Need For Alarm in 1993. His last solo album, Both Sides Of The Brain was released in 2000 on Heiro Imperium, the label he founded with other members of his Hieroglyphics crew.

Del's impact on the music world did not end with his solo work of even the albums his label released. At the beginning of the new millennium Del branched out and through his work with Dan the Automator on the Deltron 3030 record and later with the Gorillaz multi platinum first album (and on which he voiced the hit single, "Clint Eastwood"), Del continued to push the boundaries of the art of MCing and proving that talent and versatility could make rap relevant outside the traditional boundaries of genre.

When asked about working with Def Jux, Del commented: "I look at this as an opportunity to spread the gospel a little thicker. El-P and I have known each other for a long time and I respect what he does. I see Def Jux out there doing their thing, I think we can help each other build new audiences. I'm looking forward to working with El-P and Def Jux on future projects as well."

El-P added, "Del is and always has been one of my favorite artists and people. It's amazing to get a chance to release Del's vision on Jux. The 11th Hour 100% Del. Conceived and produced completely by the man himself. My hope is just to get the record out to as many people as possible and to support the legacy Del and the whole Heiro Emporium have created. He's one of hip hop's true originals and a legitimate leader of the new and true school that we all love."

Del is currently touring the U.S. on the 11th Hour Tour.


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