Damn, I forgot how fun Del The Funky Homosapien‘s debut was!
Before he was a hip-hop legend who was battling emcees across the galaxy and raising the profile for Cali rap with his buddies, Del was an aloof kid out of Oakland who was dealing with everyday, real life shit. Stuff like waiting for the bus, or dealing with freeloading friends crashing on his couch. And on his 1991 debut, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, he made it sound absolutely funky.
Del was among the early ’90s wave of West Coast rap acts who weren’t gangster acts like N.W.A. and instead rapped about….literally everything else. Though he was the cousin of Ice Cube, Del’s vibe and lyrical content was far removed from his kin. Instead of gritty street life and potent black male rage, Del played the slick, bus-riding smart-ass whose daily adventures felt like a cartoon–all spastic, random, and surreal, as Del stumbles into adventures all over the Bay. Sure, he’s got some serious moments on Brother George, but for the most part the record stays lighthearted and quirky.
Oh yeah, the record is hella funky too. Handling the production was Cube and his producer Sir Jinx, bringing fat basslines and P-Funk to the mix. Sonically, it all comes together well, but at times feels at odds with Del’s style. Cube’s heavy hand on the making of this record, right down to his adlibs on a few tracks and his cameo on the intro track (“…what the fuck is a ‘funky homosapien’?”) makes Brother George feel like Ice Cube Presents Del The Funky Homosapien, and would push Del to self-produce and further branch out for subsequent albums.
“Mistadobalina” was an early single from Brother George and an absolutely infectious listen. Del goes off on groupies and fraudulent foes who peep his rise and want to tag along. The hook is catchy as hell, and the beat is swinging and woolly. This was my proper introduction to Del, and still very much a bop. Mista Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina…