Mixtape Review-Iller Than Most by Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien is the answer to the question; who is the person I have seen closest to death because of drugs. I saw him live in Boston and his eyes were never less than three fourths closed the entire time; his skin looked like a dead alien. Since I have never really done drugs I kept concocting a mixture that could do that to a person. Did he mix absinthe and cocaine? By the way he was amazing. I would always yell out “freestyle!” at shows like that in order to push the greats to come off the top of their head and Del spit spectacular improvised vocabulary for nine minutes while looking like he could collapse at any time. Before that I’m sure I knew the world had people like that I just hadn’t seen one. That was a long time ago.
So the arc fans know is that Ice Cube’s cousin was just as talented as he was weird so labels didn’t know what to do with him. He started one of the most important indy labels in history (props to A-Plus and everyone else who played key roles) dropped classically weird material and became an icon. Kids who didn’t know rap started reciting his Gorillaz verses word for word and then…he dropped off the face of the earth for 8 years. When he came back he’d studied music theory and wanted to make his own beats. He’d also deconstructed himself lyrically. Instead of flashy longwinded wordplay the new Del strikes in short concise bursts. From 2009 till today he’s released several projects each feel like a testing ground for the growth of this new Del. His newest project Iller Than Most is definitely still testing but the results are getting better.
Instead of the meandering funk that made tracks indistinguishable on previous efforts Iller Than Most has a sharpness in the whizzing pings of background that lend well to the quick burst flow Del now specializes in. Take the opening to the song Militant for example “Ok, deliberately rhyme great I never dumb down you gonna get it or gyrate,” the old Del would have made this an entire verse but as a line it’s perfectly realized. This isn’t an event album. You’re not going to find chat groups and twitter feeds blowing up about it. The allure is that Del is giving us BARS again. He shadowboxes enemies “I never see you in the street but I know you around cause you do little B sh_t when I’m outta town. Feel dread can’t live with the raw terror you search for sleep you can’t cause your head hurt (Wreckin The Upside),” and some of the threats feel specific enough that you wonder if the target is general or specific. Del is masterful at warning listeners how people suck and Iller Than Most is at its most fun when he’s joyfully doing exactly that.
If you don’t have the patience to go through this rebuild I completely understand. Iller Than Most doesn’t hold a candle to Deltron 3030 or No Need For Alarm but I don’t care at all. This is a different emcee with a distinctly underground taste. He’s not the wide-eyed funkateer from I Wish My Brother George Was Here but when he clowns people for eating off the dollar menu and threatens to slap someone’s face off (on the Beastie Boys tribute track Grand Royal) I felt like I was back at that show in Boston. Pumping my fist and drinking in one of the pure talents in rap history. That talent is the centerpiece of Iller Than Most and none of us should forget it or talk about it like its in the past tense. Dude is dope right now.
Stream or download Iller Than Most below: