Review Summary: "Ayo Del?" "What?" "The f**k is a funky homosapien?" "It's a human being, fool. A funky human being" "Aight..."
Having a famous relative can come in handy sometimes. Credibility can be gained from others by simply associating with said relative. In the world of sports, famous athletes often have sons or daughters that follow in their footsteps such as famed NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice and his son, Jerry Rice Jr. Also, it is common to see two players that are cousins, such as former NBA dou Vince Carter and Tracy Mcgrady. Actors often have relatives in show business, such as Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith, or Owen Wilson and his brother, Luke Wilson.
For Teren Jones, better known as Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, his famous relative was O'Shea Jackson, better known as Ice Cube of the seminal west coast hip-hop group, N.W.A. At first, Jones wrote lyrics for Jackson's Los Angeles-based band, Da Lench Mob. Soon, he and his cousin would collaborate again, with Del rapping over Ice Cube production on Del's debut, I Wish My Brother George Was Here
. The album would go on to receive critical acclaim, even though Jones was not satisfied with the final product.
Jones is his own worst critic here, as he simply does not give himself enough credit for the excellent piece of work that is his debut. He paints a vivid picture of his everyday life in the city, but it has a soulful vibe to at. The things he's talking about may seem sad and troublesome on the lyric sheet alone, but Del's presence, and the funk-filled beats Ice Cube puts down on this record, make them seem little more than a nuisance. It is almost as if to say that, even though life may seem tough, going through it with confidence and a positive mindset can work wonders.
When Del isn't talking about the irritants of his city, he takes a wise-cracking approach against what he calls “fraudulent foes”, or bad rappers. His hit single from the album, “Mistadobalina”, is the most famous example, but songs like “Same 'Ol Thing” and “Pissin' On Your Steps” feature Del at his lyrical best, full of interesting wordplay and punchlines.
If there is one thing holding the album back, it is that the beats don't stray too far from the blueprints set early on by “What Is A Booty” and “Mistadobalina”, sometimes leading songs to run into each other, and making the album feel longer than it actually is. Despite this, there isn't necessarily a bad beat, and Del has enough to say and enough presence on the mic to keep listeners interested regardless.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien would go on to be an important figure in the underground, and would go on to make bigger and better projects. His work with Deltron 3030 resulted in one of the best hip-hop albums around the turn of the century, and would collaborate with other famous groups, such as Wu-Tang Clan and Gorillaz. However, that is not to discredit this album in any way, as it makes itself known as an excellent hip-hop release and an album that no Del fan should ever pass up.