For several years, the whereabouts of Del Tha Funkee Homosapien were a complete mystery. Resurfacing on a few tours, including some with his Hieroglyphics brethren, Del spent the past six years learning life lessons and educating himself on the science of music. The Cali native has come an incredibly long way from his debut LP I Wish My Brother George Was Here, which introduced the world to his experimental take on Hip-Hop music. The ‘90s saw Del as a prolific wordsmith, whose complexly eccentric lyrics evoked, like his moniker states, pure funk. An obvious lover of all music, Del could outshine most he collaborated with. Since then, he has sharpened his third eye vision with the Hiero crew, transformed with the Deltron series, and discovered that the heart of his passion lies in production. With the release of his documentary DVD The 11th Hour and accompanying CD titled same, Del provides an in-depth look on his everyday life and the art of a rocking a stage.
Catching up with Del, he expresses the negative side of touring and its trying effect on his health, his new found love of music theory, and his relationships with both Hieroglyphics and his cousin, Ice Cube. Don’t forget the possibility of a punk project. Del does punk? Keep reading…
AllHipHop.com: I hear you’re under the weather.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Very under the weather. I almost died. Those air conditioners may as well be Anthrax to me.
AllHipHop.com: Did you have the flu?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Nope, nothing like that. This kinda sick comes from your body saying, “Okay, I quit! You’re doing too much.”
AllHipHop.com: Do you still record when you’re sick?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I try to. In this case, I couldn’t because I was straight bedridden. I’m just now getting back on the beat making tip.
AllHipHop.com: Well, you have been on the grind judging from the 11th Hour DVD…
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Yes, off and on. Bukue tends to pace it well.
AllHipHop.com: How long have you been working towards the release of the DVD?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Quite a while, but it’s decieving because if not for foul people, it would be done by now. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.
AllHipHop.com: Is the accompanying CD still in the works?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Oh yeah! Mixing it now with Matt Kelly. I got my own studio at this point, know music theory and mixing. Thank God.
AllHipHop.com: Yes on the DVD you spoke in detail about music theory. Not a lot of MC’s know the science behind the music they make…
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I had to do it for myself and for the public. People getting sick of half-assed product.
AllHipHop.com: [laughs] Do you think just because some artists are independent that people give them too much credit lyrically?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: That’s a good question…yeah maybe, or better yet due to complexity. Songwriting, I’ve learned, is it’s own beast.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think your studying of music theory affected your sound this time around?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Oh yeah! Only in terms of getting it how I really want it though. That’s more personal than anyone from the outside could probably see though. The songs are more seamless; less forced.
AllHipHop.com: How does it line up with your past albums?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I personally believe that it’s one of the best. But, I believe overall that the first album [I Wish My Brother George Was Here] was the best. It was the most comprehensive, so I started from that. I added on from there using the talents I had built up. But it’s personal though…people from the outside consider my second album [No Need For Alarm] my best.
AllHipHop.com: Are you still cool with your cousin Ice Cube?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Yeah! [We] don’t talk much, but yeah. He is very, very, very large, hard as hell to get with, but it is possible. We’ll chat sooner or later. I gotta let him know he can get at me here. But for now, I just kinda go off our last convo. We’ve known each other for so long, I think it would be hard not to be cool. I want him to peep out my production skills, dead up.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, on the DVD it shows you making the beats in your home studio…how much of Hiero was present on this album in terms of production and rhyming?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien [Opio] hit me with a track, [Casual] did too, but it may not make it to the LP…I had support, but I was secluded in my work due to uh…formalities.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Hoes trying to f**k my life up pretty much. If you’ve seen the DVD, you know already. It just made me a very distant and kinda cold person ‘til you get to know me, which may be never for some people.
AllHipHop.com: Did it affect your relationship with members of the Hiero crew? You all appear like such a brotherhood.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Well, it was hard at times for cats to believe that I was really studying and averting disasters…but yeah, we brothers, so not really a big, big deal.
AllHipHop.com: I noticed on your bookshelf in your house alongside your music theory books was a book on metaphysics…were you studying that as well?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I’m naturally inquisitive so anything that interests me- I’m like A-Plus or Tajai, all of Hiero really, in that aspect… try to read a lot. It’s one answer I believe.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that the six-year timeframe since your last album will affect your fans?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Yeah, unfortunately, but there’s bigger s**t that occured besides my s**t, everybody went through it. Six is the limitation of the devil, so…
AllHipHop.com: Did that play into your decision to name the project The 11th Hour?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: God and nothing stopping God’s will? Yeah.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of different “cousins” of Hip-Hop came about since you last released an album. Have you taken a liking to any of them. For example, Hyphy?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Hyphy I like alot, but it’s only because that as well as Southern Hip-Hop is still Hip-Hop, just an older form. A lot of us may have abandoned them sounds, but people still like ‘em. I’m from the Bay, so it’s definitely elements of that in my music. I keep it all funky though. Funk has no category.
AllHipHop.com: You have alot of different sounds in your style, and I saw on the DVD your collection of ‘70s music. Do you see any other artists today who are as eclectic?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Well, yeah. Off the back, Madlib and J-Dilla R.I.P. We all dig the elders though if we really into music. Brian Jackson, I wanna say what’s up to him too, while I got the chance.
AllHipHop.com: Are you a Gil Scott-Heron fan too?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Yes, to a degree, but more a fan of Brian. Plus, he was like a mentor of sorts to me.
AllHipHop.com: He is pretty popular still in working with Hip-Hop artists, like Digable Planets.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I know! I’ve been foolin’ with Mecca [Ladybug Mecca]. Mecca did a song with me for 11th. She’s got hot Punk vocals too though. I can do Punk too! I’m a Punk head from like Black Flag and stuff.
AllHipHop.com: Are we going to see your Punk side in the near future?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Uh, maybe. If I can do it without Del gettin’ in the way, fine.
AllHipHop.com: Why, what’s stopping Del?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: It would be expectations of Del stoppin’ anything else. I can only go as far as the people really want me to.
AllHipHop.com: Would you consider yourself a perfectionist? It must be hard when you know so much about music theory now too.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Yeah…but I’m realistic as well. I try to be within my means. I kinda approached it [music theory] a different way than others I guess, since I learned it on my own. I would like to release instrumental albums. I make mad music that never comes out, unless some other thing occurs like the Deltron series.
AllHipHop.com: We need another Deltron…
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: It’s coming, but it’s not gonna be what people expect…there ain’t no technological advancements. We toe’ all that off being humans.
AllHipHop.com: When’s the next Hiero album? We haven’t seen one since Full Circle really.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I know, but we were never a “group” is the problem. We were always separate acts, united.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah but you had so much chemistry when you all came together.
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: That’s ‘cause we were all friends for so long, but we never really meant to be a supergroup or nothing. We did that to maximize visibility when we first came out with our label; cheaper to tour at once. We never really thought about it, we just were and ended up where we did, like so many artists do, which is why I started to study music. I definitely never intended to really be in a group. I’m a Leo.
AllHipHop.com: So you prefer the solitude of music making?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Oh yeah, definitely. I would rather play the back at this point. Too much drama. I feel like if I get deathly sick one more time on the road, I’m gonna murder someone. It’s the air conditioners, and no one wants to shut ‘em off. They’re everywhere, except here at home.
AllHipHop.com: You should move to New York…
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Oh no, no, no. New York? I couldn’t survive. It’s great though; lived out there a few months. Sophia Chang, I love you! I was her roomie for quite a bit.
AllHipHop.com: Did you have any trouble getting your bidis out here?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Oh yeah! Hella hard to get out there. I’ll be gettin’ bricks ‘cause they’re basically illegal.
AllHipHop.com: What’s your favorite brand of bidis?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: 500, the pink pack.
AllHipHop: On the DVD you’re having an AIM conversation and it reveals your screen name. Are you afraid kids will start IM’ing you?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Naw, kids already know it anyway. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. I can talk, I ain’t scared to talk to the public. It will only help me anyway really. I’m aware of that. I like to talk, it’s something I wouldn’t change in my personality at least.
AllHipHop.com: What’s one thing you would change?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: My anger level, and I do change it, because I’ll be extremely hostile if I feel put out.
AllHipHop.com: How does that affect you creatively?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I put it out in my music…I’m diabolical like the Biz with music. Music theory helps me color music as brutally shaded as I want it to be within harmonic context. Most of my songs start off kinda minor and get lower from there.
AllHipHop.com: Has your sound gotten darker?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Hmmmm…well, sorta but in parts, I guess. It has its function definitely. I tend to go there though, being funky and all. Funk is bad, mean. Funk is attitude. If you do me, I’ma have an attitude that permeates throughout what I do, if you can feel me there…music included. But it’s sorta like making the best out of a funky situation though. Funk is more lifestyle than a musical format. Any kind of music can be played in a funky manner.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think you will go to straight production eventually?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: I want to. That’s really what I love to do. I love writing, not necessarily all the traveling.
AllHipHop.com: Who wouldn’t you make beats for in the industry?
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Anybody with wack lyrics, which would have to be absolute fluff!