Del tha Funky Homosapien Granada Theater September 26, 2008
Better than: The GZA’s show a few weeks at ago at The Loft, despite a less-hip-hop-friendly venue.
Del tha Funky Homosapien raised eyebrows recently when he moved to a new label and was absent from his Oakland crew, Hieroglyphics’, 10-year reunion tour. But last night’s show at the Granada proved he is still very much connected to his roots, and still knows how to put on a legendary hip-hop show. Del was joined on stage by fellow Hiero rapper A-Plus, and pleasantly surprised the crowd by favoring his older material over tracks from his latest solo release, Eleventh Hour.
Local radio personality/MC Headkrack and crew, all shouts and flailing arms, wasted no time pumping adrenaline into the eager crowd to start the show. What they lacked in finesse, they made up for with humor, flow and raw energy. The room's assortment of skaters, B-boys and old school hip-hop fans soaked up the excitement, throwing their arms in the air and falling in time to one huge, collective head nod.
With a mic in each hand and a skateboard under his feet, Berkeley rapper Bukue One followed, reintroducing the crowd to the west coast. He nearly brought the house down himself, throwing down sick flows and skateboard tricks all at once. Still, his set ran just as long as Del’s, and felt even longer. By the time he finally introduced the night's headliner, the crowd was beside itself.
Del loved it. He practically skipped on to the stage, with a huge grin on his face and a youthful enthusiasm that’s been missing from some other legendary hip hop acts who've come through town lately. The energy level built throughout the show as he pulled out old favorites like his first single “Mistadobalina”, and “Virus” from the beloved Deltron 3030 album. His Eleventh Hour choices were wise as well, including “Workin’ It” which got even the dudes dancing.
He stopped only twice to express his gratitude to the fans that have followed him for so long. I have a feeling it was probably very sincere, but I couldn’t hear a word of it over the crowd, who just couldn’t seem to come down off its high long enough to listen. The show itself was proof of his appreciation. The set list was near perfect, and he managed infectious energy with laid-back west coast cool.
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The big ender “Clint Eastwood” had the crowd chanting “D-E-L!” long after the curtain went down and the house lights went up.
In true Del fashion there were some puzzling moments, like why he freestyled over some tracks, and left everyone hanging with no encore. But after an innovative career spanning two decades and a show like last night’s, you just don’t ask questions.
Critic’s Notebook Random Note: Headkrack had everyone cracking up (sorry) with Mic Holding 101, explaining through flawless demonstration why no one can understand some MCs when they get on the mic.
By The Way: Was this a hip-hop show or an Obama rally? Or is that the same thing these days? Shirts in the crowd used the Hiero logo as the “O” in Barack’s last name, and each of the opening acts, and A-Plus, delved into politics onstage. All told, it was pretty easy to gauge the room's political temperature. --Brittan Dunham