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LAist Interview: Del tha Funkee Homosapien

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Within the family tree of hip hop royalty Del tha Funkee Homosapien has a permanent seat, with rap running in the family genes (Del's cousin is Ice Cube) and having been a huge influence in hip hop himself. Del flipped the script on mainstream rap in the 90's, and has since moved onto bigger and better things with each project, including working with Dan the Automator on Deltron 3030, and Damon Albarn on the Gorillaz.

Del has a new CD out and is playing a free show this Saturday @ USC, and let LAist call and bug him with an interview.

LAist: How is the Eleventh Hour unique from your past productions?

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Del tha Funkee Homospaien: Well I had two things I was trying to do. One I wanted it to be a little bit funkier, you know? But at the same time I didn’t want to go overboard with it, and do too much. I still wanted it to have a hip hop flavor, know what I’m saying? So basically trying to meld the two together so that’s pretty much how it differs from my other albums.

Why is there always this unspoken beef between LA and SF?

Who said that? I ain’t ever heard of that.

Ok, scratch that.

Yeah I ain’t never heard of that. I mean there’s different people that beef about whatever, but in general… I ain’t never heard of that. Know what I mean?

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Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?


How come?

How come? Because that’s monumental, and also he seems like he has got it going on, you know? And he’s younger too. You can kinda feel what its about, and he’s not too old, he’s kinda separated from everything. Not saying that Hilary can’t feel nobody, but for my choice that’s who I’m voting for. Now personally, if Barrack wins, or if Hillary wins… would have to be hella better than what we got now. What we got now gotta go. That ain’t been working… ever! Know what I’m saying. So that gotta go.

Would you consider the '90s the golden age of hip hop?

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I mean, a lot of people that were into it then would probably consider it the golden age. But I was listening to hip hop from the beginning, you know, so it was a good time, the '90s you know? But I'm thinking that the golden age of hip hop was older than that, you know what I'm saying?

What was the '90s to you then?

For me the '90's is the time when we really started getting some paper. We started really seeing what we could do. There was a lot of creativity. The sampling age was happening full swing. We were starting to do some really interesting things with samples. We weren't just looping the beats anymore. We had learned how to chop samples up and rearrange stuff, and make different compositions; you know what I'm saying? You can take a song, and make a whole new song out of it. It wouldn't be like the sample anymore. All that was the '90s. Lyrically, the lyrics just started getting crazy you know? Anything, you know what I'm saying, under the son.

What can you tell us about the new Deltron album?

It's almost finished. It's going to have more subject matter to it. But that's pretty much it, you know? Still in the future... But now it's probably dealing with the future that people don't want to see. It's going to be epic, that's how I'm trying to make it.

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How did you come to sign with Def Jux instead of with the Heiro label?

Well the Heiro label is mine. You know what I'm saying, that's mine anyway. I'm still part owner and stuff, and that ain't goin nowhere. I just needed a way to get the album out now, and I didn't have the resources to do it. And El-P... They was just the people I could trust, and I trusted them with this project. And I'm lovin' it. I love what they did so far. And I didn't have any doubt that they would be able to do that anyway. But that's why I did that. And to get closer to El-P on a business level so we could work on stuff together.

Where in LA has the best food.

Shit I don't know, Roscoe's. Where I'm at now. Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.

Oh, word?

Yep, I'm in the parking lot at Roscoe's.

What are the best and worst parts about playing shows in LA?

Playing shows in LA is good, I can't really say a worse part. I guess that one thing that could happen is gang violence but that has never happened at one of my shows. If I could think of the worse possible thing that could possibly happen, I guess it would be that. And I'm sure it goes on at the more rougher shows. I just ain't had to never deal with that aat my shows, because my shows is pretty, you know, chill. And that's the only thing people need to kill, is that black on brown violence. They need to kill that.

If you weren't a successful rapper, what might you have grown up to be instead?

I was a cartoonist at first. And I still draw too. I mean, I did the Heiro logo, and a couple of other designs for myself. And that's probably what I would have ended up doing. But music was easier for me to get a finished product. So that's why I liked music.

With your cousin Ice Cube producing all these films, would you ever consider taking more another jobs?

That any really my lane, I'll let Cube do that. He got more patience than I do. You know what I'm saying? I'll be like, "I got to go." A guy stood up there shooting the same shot for like 12 or 13 different takes, and it was like, "The first five wasn't cool?" I just ain't got the patience. Even a video takes a lot out of me. I don't know about that. I'm more into soundtracks. I'd score soundtracks for a movie or a TV show or whatever, a commercial whatever. I'm more into the music, man, that's what I do all day.

What music would your fans be surprised to learn that you are a fan of?

Um, Kanye probably. 50 cent, Style C, you know shit like that. Espeecially 50 cent, and I'm not saying I bump 50 cent all the time, but I'll listen to it every now and then. I'll listen to anything, so its not just the underground stuff. Anything that's not underground my fans would probably dis it, just because its not underground. They might think that there's actually something wrong with that music just because everybody likes it. Which don't make sense to me. Because if everyone is liking it, something's going on with it. You might now like it, but it has some sort of appeal that's universal.

Photo via Def Jux