Oakland legend Del the Funkee Homosapien swept in this week with a new tape, which he promises is the first in a trilogy of free tapes to be released this year. Entirely self-produced, and entirely dependent on P-Funk samples, West Coast Avengers finds Del doing lots of what he’s always done: shouting out wack rappers, flowing capably over funk sampling beats and reflecting on life in the Bay.
He sounds super comfortable here. Indeed, at times, his production and his lyrics sound too comfortable. Still, for those of us who are longstanding fans of Del — the hallucinogen enjoying, pierced, cousin of Ice Cube, and a rapper who was pretty consistently interesting in the *cough cough* 90s — West Coast Avengers is a nice means of catching up with an old friend.
Tape highlight “Gone” serves as a nice update to the “Wack M.C.s” format, whereby Del sounds as sharp as he gets on the tape, rapping through the beat fade-out at the end of the track. Twenty years in the game and Del convincingly raps, “What I spit is newfangled coming from a new angle, ya disapprove because you’re mass produced and moot, ain’t ya?” This assertiveness is fleeting though. Certainly, Del could use an injection of energy from the likes of Dan the Automator circa Deltron 3030, because songs like “Gone” prove that his skills haven’t deteriorated and while well worn, the themes that Del traffics are still welcome.