Concert Review: Del Tha Funky Homosapien

Rap is commonly referred to as a young man’s game and in many respects that statement is accurate. The career trajectory of most rappers follows a path similar to this: great first album, good second album, decent third album, and then for the remainder of their careers most rappers rest on their laurels, turning in half-baked albums and even more apathetic concert performances (not to name any names…ahem…Mobb Deep).

But 15 years after his much-lauded debut LP, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, Del Tha Funky Homosapien’s live show remains one of the best in contemporary hip-hop. Drawing from material ranging from his first album, to his most recent work, to his opus Deltron 3030 album, Del delivered a very strong set at the sold-out Knitting Factory in Hollywood on Friday night.

With a fierce delivery and confidence, the most well-known of the Hieroglyphics got the crowd live from the moment he walked on-stage. For the duration of the hour-long set Del managed to keep the energy levels high. As one might expect, the tenor of the room reached a feverish pitch as he performed what will probably go down as his most famous hit, “Mr. Dobalina.”

In fact, the only time that the energy flagged a bit was when Del brought his Hieroglyphics co-hort, A-Plus, on-stage. While A-Plus, one of the Souls of Mischief is a capable rapper in his own right, he failed to match the energy and charisma that Del brought to the table. The contrast served to prove exactly how good Del actually was, as he effortlessly spit freestyles and written raps to the crowd, paced confidently across the stage, and displayed a supreme and precise control of the microphone.

While most of his peers have abandoned rap to focus on non-rap related projects (at best), or are just simply washed up, Del seems to only have gotten better with age. The veteran MC’s performance at the Knitting Factory proved his continued relevance. At a time when the rap world is bloated with figures who seemingly can boast about nothing but guns, drugs, and hos, Del remains a throwback to an age when rappers actually rapped, rather than spit empty catchphrases and ad-libs. Del may never have gone platinum like his cousin Ice Cube, but fifteen years into the game, he remains a potent force in the world of hip-hop.

–Jeff Weiss in Los Angeles