Seeing the overabundance of rap album and song titles containing 2000 or 2001 (props to Grand Puba for being ahead of his time), a trio of forward-minded thinkers has decided to take it to a whole new level. Dan the Automator, Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Kid Koala (via their respective alter egos Cantankerous Captain Aptos, Deltron Zero and Skiznod the Boy Wonder) have teamed together to create a 31st century scenario.
As Deltron explains on “3030,” the album’s first song, after an apocalyptic event, they are on a mission to the future to reclaim their music. The real-life Del is also on a mission to reclaim his career after the disappointment of Both Sides of the Brain — and the Automator, who helped Kool Keith catapult from underground enigma to college radio superstar with the Dr. Octagon project, is the man to help. While sporting an intriguing list of collaborators (including Blur’s Damon Albarn, Sean Lennon, Prince Paul and Peanut Butter Wolf), Deltron 3030 is basically a Del solo LP with Automator behind the boards. Guest roles are limited to short cameos, and unfortunately Koala stays primarily in the background.
Those complaints aside, this album is very well done. Automator proves his talent for finding samples from anywhere, providing a focused framework for Del to twist his trademarked roller-coaster vocal inflections around, dropping science-fiction rhymes as if he were hip hop’s H.G. Wells. With more vigor than on his last album, he tells tales of futuristic society, plans his anarchic computer virus and recalls winning the intergalactic MC battle by defeating a shadow, a power-siphoning quadruped and other lovely life-forms.
Critics and artists alike often whine about the lack of innovation in rap music, but, plainly put, this album doesn’t sound like anything else, of any genre, out there today.
Luke Forrest writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.