Early life and beginnings: 1990-1997 Cousin of seminal west coast rapper Ice Cube, Del began his career writing lyrics for Ice Cube's band, Da Lench Mob. In 1991, with the help of Ice Cube, Del...Expand
Early life and beginnings: 1990-1997
Cousin of seminal west coast rapper Ice Cube, Del began his career writing lyrics for Ice Cube's band, Da Lench Mob. In 1991, with the help of Ice Cube, Del released his first solo album, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, at the age of 18. The album was a commercial success largely due to the popularity of the hit single, "Mistadobalina." Ultimately Del, who was not pleased with the limited musical range of the album, severed his production-artist relationship with Ice Cube for his next album, No Need for Alarm. No Need for Alarm also saw the introduction of the Oakland clique Hieroglyphics, whose original members included Souls of Mischief (Opio, A-Plus, Phesto and Tajai) Casual, Pep Love, Del, and producer Domino. No Need for Alarm helped to expose both the regional Oakland sound of hip hop, as well as the freestyle based, "golden era-97" style of hip hop being expanded at the time.
Middle era: 1998-2006
Due to touring, mundane activities, and frequent psychedelic drug use, Del would not produce another album for five years. About a month before the release of his third album, Future Development, Del received a letter from his label, Elektra, stating that his contract had been terminated. Future Development became available in 1998. The album was only available on the Hieroglyphics website in tape form, but was re-released in 2002 under the Hieroglyphics Imperium label. Del also released another collaborative work with the Hieroglyphics crew in 1998, which was also the Hieroglyphics crew's first album: 3rd Eye Vision. Two years later, Del released his fourth solo album, Both Sides of the Brain, as well as Deltron 3030 which was a collaborative work with artists Dan the Automator Nakamura and Kid Koala. Exposure from the 3030 project helped to expand Del's fan base. The 3030 project worked well as a marketing move because the CD capitalized on the growing interest of computer technology, incorporating motifs of science fiction, telling stories about life and hip hop based in the year 3030, and infusing much of the popular internet terminology and culture in circulation at the time. Also with Nakamura and Koala, Del was a guest performer for the 2001 album Gorillaz, the debut album by the band of the same name. He appeared on one of Gorillaz' most iconic tracks to date on the hit single: "Clint Eastwood" & the other single "Rock the House". 2003 also saw the release of Full Circle, the second full-length album from the Hieroglyphics crew. In 2004, Elektra released The Best of Del tha Funkee Homosapien: The Elektra Years without the approval of Del. The CD only includes songs from his first two albums, along with a handful of b-sides from that era. Del was not pleased and advised people to not buy the CD, saying it was just Elektra trying to make money off of him due to his newfound fame. Together with his crew, Del established his own independent record label, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings, which primarily consists of an expanded Hieroglyphics roster and a few other artists with whom the group collaborates regularly.
Recent years: 2007-present
On March 11, 2008 Del released Eleventh Hour owned by Definitive Jux; the album received mixed reaction from fans. On March 31, 2009 Del's next album Funk Man was made available for free download on the internet. The album is available at his page on Bandcamp.com, though he gave away some hard copies on his supporting Funk Man tour. A new video for the first single, "Get It Right Now," is on YouTube. In September of the same year, he released a new album, Automatik Statik, for an unfixed rate with a minimum of $3. Del released his next album "It Ain't Illegal Yet" on August 6, 2010. There is no fixed price for the album, allowing listeners to pay whatever they wish for the album. Paying certain prices for the album will give certain incentives. Del released his latest album "Golden Era" April 19, 2011 in a three disc set including "Funkman" and "Automatik Statik".