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ARTIST: Deltron 3030
TITLE: Deltron 3030
I'm not the world's biggest rap fan. It's true I haven't bought a rap album since my high school days, but back then there were a few rap groups I really got into - Del tha Funky Homosapien & Hieroglyphics were my mainstays - so know that when Deltron 3030 came my way, I was ready for it.
It was 2000. Del teamed up with Dan the Automator and Kid Koala to release an album as Deltron 3030. They created a space for themselves, carving out what the future will be like, as seen from the eyes of 3 very talented, far-out individuals.
As one might expect from their combined talents, Deltron 3030 is a powerhouse of an album - and, admittedly, it's one I don't get around to listening to nearly enough. From the sci-fi sound effects to the solid beats supporting Del's creative wordplay, rap doesn't get much better than this. Even if sorely overlooked in my collection from time to time, it stands as one of my favorites.
While it does feature some of the stupid skits that turned me off from rap in the first place - to be honest, one of the reasons I stopped listening to music of this sort was that everyone from Wu-Tang Clan to Outkast feels the need to use ridiculous bits before moving on - they are truly the only noticeable smudges of the album. As I stand today, I have no idea who thought these interludes were a good idea in the rap scene; though Deltron tries to lace them in as part of a greater concept, the album would be better without. That's a small price to pay, though, to get the end result.
Del's voice is strong and his flow is unique. He paints a rap-battle world of the future and fills the listener in on his struggle as an underground rapper, beating out powerful rap robots on his way. Similar to story of Eminem in 8 Mile, this predates the movie and pushes its vision into the distant future. In a showdown of who influenced who, Del obviously wins this one, and dare I say, has more fun with it.
Less than a year before his related project, Gorillaz, made the scene and appealed to a much broader audience (what with Damien Alburn and all), Deltron 3030 had little choice but to quickly fade into obscurity. The timing was made for overshadowing, which is too bad, really - it shouldn't be missed. One of the reasons I chose this as a Forgotten Favorite is that it's overlooked by many, but that is also one of the reasons it's so great a find.
Through it all, the band really knows how to have fun with the genre and the sound. When afforded the chance to see Deltron 3030 live at the House of Blues (and I don't mean to make any readers jealous when I write this), they were joined on stage by Spider-Man. Yup, Spidey played bass behind Del's rapping and Dan the Automator's knob-twisting. It was pretty amazing to see them live, and it etched in all the things I loved from hearing the album. The sound was crisp and Del was in rare form; it captured the madcap greatness of the Deltron 3030.
When looking at so many other rap albums of late, it feels to me like most of them released in the past few years sound like garbage - stale and unappealing - and it makes me wonder why. Perhaps are getting too difficult; Deltron 3030 offers advice they can really use: keep it simple… Like a concept album taking place a thousand years in the future where rappers battle against robots.
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he's afraid of really growing up.
See other articles by Bob Ladewig.
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