Release Date: Sep 30, 2013
Record label: Bulk Recordings
The narrative here isn’t a linear story progression, but that’s not the aim—it’s meant to relay a very particular emotional terrain. More emphasis seems to have been placed on the concept’s ideology than its execution, which can be problematic for a genre as straightforward as hip-hop. When Del isn’t spitting fire about this future Earth’s dystopian despair, he’s delivering the same sincere goofiness (and somehow non-contradictory smoothness) that made him so endearing to begin with.
Deltron 3030’s self-titled debut came and went with little fanfare in the spring of 2000, barely cracking the Billboard 200, but it marked a bellwether moment for thousands of listless suburban youths: it clearly demonstrated the universality of hip-hop as a format. By applying the genre to a chromepunk space opera with sweeping, forward-thinking production and left-field flows about mech soldiers and papyrus, Deltron 3030 kicked the door wide open for alternative rap. In the process, it blew the door to hip-hop fandom open for a generation of suburban kids for whom mainstream hip-hop remained far outside of their cultural framework.
Thirteen years have passed since Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator, and DJ Kid Koala blessed Hip Hop with one of its best concept albums (and certainly its greatest Space Opera). Part Orwellian dystopia, part Star Wars, and all Hip Hop, Deltron 3030’s debut was a cult classic whose lasting legacy has led fans clamoring for Del to resume his role as Deltron Zero. Many years and dozens of updates dating back to 2004 later, Event II arrives with fans wondering if it can live up to the original.
Getting the cautions out of the way first, Event 2 is a sequel through and through, a 2013 return to the future world that rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, producer Dan the Automator, and DJ Kid Koala created with the project's groundbreaking, self-titled concept album debut. Those unfamiliar with the 2000 release should certainly get hip before tackling this excellent follow-up, which often feels like a tribute or celebration of the original. Here, high-profile guests enthusiastically play their roles in the style of the Deltron mythos, where Del's alter ego Deltron Zero fights against the inter-planetary and evil corporations that now run the universe.
A decade has passed since the heroic Deltron Zero last surfaced. Conditions in 3040 have deteriorated, so Deltron has returned to fight the good fight in the future, but his narrative also serves as a warning to those of us in the present. Del reveals much about this dystopian future with a little exposition and a great deal of vivid imagery.
It’s been 13 long years since their sci-fi hip-hop tag-team debut, and the time Dan The Automator, Del The Funky Homosapien and Kid Koala didn’t spend writing convoluted plotlines for this follow-up, they’ve used begging their mates to join in. Long-time associate Damon Albarn, Jamie Cullum, comedians The Lonely Island and even chef David Chang all help to make sure the wait was worthwhile. There is an admirable consistency to the production, and at its best ‘Event II’ is touched by greatness – see Zack De La Rocha’s histrionics rubbing up against Del’s laid-back verses on ‘Melding Of The Minds’; or ‘My Only Love’, decorated by an unsettlingly brittle chorus from Emily Wells.Angus Batey .
In 2000, producer Dan the Automator, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and Canadian turntablist Kid Koala teamed up as Deltron 3030 to release a self-titled "hip-hopera" (cringe) about a dystopian world. They took 13 years to record a follow-up, making them the My Bloody Valentine of left-field rap. The trio brought along some friends for the trip, resulting in an incredibly eclectic effort.
‘Event II’ might be a long-awaited second album from the cult hip-hop trio, but for a group who are based 3000 years in the future, a 13-year gap between records is a mere drop in the ocean. Here, Deltron 3030 - that’s rapper Del Tha Funky Homosapien, turntablist Kid Koala and virtuoso producer Dan The Automator - return to carry on the Delton story while addressing a number of contemporary events that have shaped the last tumultuous decade.‘Event II’ is an album built on customary questing ambition and a strong sense of symphonic grandeur. It’s the sound of Deltron making a statement, both about the futuristic fantasy world in which they inhabit and the harsh realities of 21st century life on Earth.
As quintessential big-word abstract rappers went, Del Tha Funky Homosapien stood out in his first decade of work for all the right reasons. His unapologetic enthusiasm for geek culture ephemera and that drawling, swooping nyeah-nyeah voice added a novel goofball edge to his frenzied agenda of intricate technical raps, hitting his outsized peak as the frontman of the Dan the Automator/Kid Koala supergroup that comprised Deltron 3030. As the title character, Del took the super-scientifical-lyrical-miracle orthodoxy of underground hip-hop lyricism and pushed it to a caricature of its logical conclusion: a proggy sci-fi cyberpunk opus as dense and imposing as a skyline from Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira, if a fair amount goofier.
In the year 2000, underground hip hop was the future. Popular both on college campuses and in urban music communities, the alternative to the popular MTV rap of the time took to a lyrics-first attitude, and beats often constructed from an actual DJ, and the stance that things like message were important, while being less reliant on a studio and on marketing. At a time when rap seemed most focused on making money, the underground focused on making music and thrived because of it.
Few albums have been as anticipated — or at least caused as much intrigue (mostly fueled by Del the Funky Homosapien’s teases on the album’s progress) — as the followup to the underground hip-hop classic Deltron 3030. Transcending genre, the album blew minds, furthered Dan “The Automator” Nakamura’s ascension as one of the genre’s top producers, and would eventually find itself seated at the table with some of hip-hop and contemporary music’s most important albums. That was in 2000.
The future rides a flexible continuum on “Event 2” (Bulk), a dystopian but perky concept album by this alternative hip-hop conglomerate, due out on Tuesday. As on Deltron 3030’s self-titled debut, released in 2000, it’s the product of a partnership among the savvy producer Dan the Automator, the fiercely intelligent rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and the ace turntablist Kid Koala — along with an oddball assortment of guests, like Damon Albarn of Gorillaz, Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine and David Chang of Momofuku. (Yes, the chef.) Lyrically the album rails against corporate and technological forces, peering back from a distant future in a tone both rueful and goofy.
It’s been 13 years since the last Deltron 3030 album and (whilst perhaps not totally in line with its vision) the world around us has certainly changed. Del (aka Tha Funkee Homosapien) however, and his prescient lyrics about Deltron Zero’s intergalactic futurist fight and commentary on a cold and loveless planet ruled by mega-corporations, haven’t, much. By way of context, the croaky narrator relates on the opening track of ‘Event II’(Stardate 3040) “one by one the banks began to collapse again, politicians were running out of flocks to fleece, the middle class had faded into irrelevance… then… when all seemed to be lost… a small glimmer of light appeared in the distance.
This year’s biggest hip-hop releases—from Drake’s Nothing Was The Same to Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail—were driven by a desire to capitalize on today’s social media-centered zeitgeist. This is a necessary tactic when you’re trying to make a case as a central voice in media and pop culture, and both those albums succeeded in their goals to varying degrees. What makes the quietly anticipated Event II from alternative hip-hop group Deltron 3030 interesting is that it doesn’t have even the slightest desire to follow suit.
Deltron 3030 Event 2 (Bulk Recordings) Y2K failed to bring about the technological catastrophe doomsayers predicted, but it did birth a fictional future where Deltron Zero threatened to "crash your whole computer system and revert you to papyrus." Stardate 3040: Event 2 begins 10 years after Deltron 3030's eponymous debut began, with Left Coast underground hero Del the Funky Homosapien spitting sci-fi nerd rap over the futuristic soundscapes of Dan the Automator and cuts from DJ Kid Koala. The crew craft a world in decay, a dystopian future on the verge of anarchy. Del's flow is bizarre as ever and Automator remains ambitious behind the boards.