Del the Funky Homosapien, Both Sides of the Brain (2000)
Although best known today for being a co-founder of Hieroglyphics along with freestyle fanatics Souls of Mischief, Casual, and Pep Love, West Coast veteran Del the Funky Homosapien was once more famous for such hits like “Mistadobalina” and the 1993 album No Need for Alarm, a backpacker classic. Following a protracted dispute with Elektra — he quietly released a 1997 third album, Future Development, after leaving the label — Both Sides of the Brain arrives on the ballast of Hiero’s major comeback, 1998’s Third Eye Vision. On this one, he couples solid yet elaborate lyrics with a witty perspective, showcasing a knack for comedy on tracks like “Followers” and “Skull and Crossbones.” Unafraid to attack the mic, he tosses out battle-scarred gems like “Offspring,” a torrid duet with Company Flow’s El-P, and “Fake as Fuck.” But the context in which his gathers his strengths – dope MC’ing and agitated, old-school beats – is occasionally suspect. Clumsy choruses like “If You Must” and “Catch All This” become grating over the course of 70 minutes, conjuring up unwelcome visions of Del as an overbearing “teacha”, KRS-One style. Still, there’s much to be said for Both Sides of the Brain. Del is a true Oakland original, with a deep, slangy voice that borders on a baritone. His highly influential style is unlike any other, even when trapped within cipher material like “Time Is Too Expensive.” Hiero Imperium.