Del The Funky Homosapien dropped his first solo album in eight years with last year’s “Eleventh Hour.”
But the legendary leader of the Hieroglyphics rhyme collective has already released three albums this year: “Funk Man (The Stimulus Package)” in April, “Automatik Statik” in September, and October’s “Parallel Uni-Verses” collaboration with Tame One.
Also in October, Del released “Lyrics 2 Go 2009,” the leadoff single for Thick Magazine’s A Tribe Called Quest tribute album.
Whatever break The Funky Homosapien was taking is apparently over.
Not that Del, who comes to The Blvd. on Tuesday, wasn’t productive during the last eight years leading up to “Eleventh Hour.” He just wasn’t putting out any full-length records under his own name.
Following his abrupt separation from Elektra records, between 2003 and 2008, Del appeared on all four Hieroglyphics group albums.
And in 2001, he made show-stealing contributions to two tracks on the self-titled debut by virtual band Gorillaz, including the platinum-selling single “Clint Eastwood.”
The Gorillaz album followed Del’s “Both Sides of the Brain” solo album, and the “Deltron 3030” alternative hip-hop supergroup project with DJ/producers Dan The Automator and Kid Koala, both released in 2000.
Somewhere down the pipeline is the sequel to “Deltron 3030,” which is turning into Del’s version of Guns N’ Roses’ long-delayed “Chinese Democracy.”
But this latest thrust of material shows the same kind of imaginative lyricism, diversity of content and innovative production qualities that pushed him to the top of the food chain in independent hip-hop.
Atypical rhyme themes and a self-proclaimed weirdo mentality help establish Del with everyone outside of the box of hip-hop, from the hipster elite to skateboarding outsiders.
But “Eleventh Hour,” his fifth studio album, is filled with the kind of streetwise thug-o-nometry that is closer to what might be expected from his older cousin, Ice Cube.
“Parallel Uni-Verses” is a b-boy battle record, showing Del flexing his microphone muscle against Artifacts emcee Tame One, over production supplied by Parallel Thought.
A limited-time free digital release, “Funk Man (The Stimulus Package)” isn’t the anticipated follow-up to “Deltron 3030,” that was expected in 2009, nor is “Automatik Statik.” But both albums are more grounded versions of Del’s spaced-out lyrical antics.
While hard-core fans eagerly await the promised “Deltron” sequel – now slated for 2010 release – there are multiple fresh sheets to review from Del’s sci-fi infused rap book.
And though The Funky Homosapien might be an acquired taste, each of his new albums has its own distinct and otherworldly flavor.