A great number of hip-hop artists are unable to recapture the brilliance of a first single or album, and others start out as legitimate acts and end up parodies of their younger selves. So it’s refreshing to see an artist like Del the Funky Homosapien continue to evolve and put out music that sounds as fresh and interesting today as the stuff he put out nearly two decades ago. Funk Man (the Stimulus Package) is a tight collection that rests on a foundation of provocative rhyming and inventive samples rather than pop sensibility and false posing.
Del’s main asset has always been his personality. While other artists have rendered themselves irrelevant by glomming onto every hint of a trend, Del has stuck to the basics of hip-hop and relied on his unique worldview to provide the basis of his music. The rhymes on Funk Man are clever and demand an attention that much of hip-hop doesn’t require. Even though he’s delivering a literate experience, Del never fails to make the experience thoroughly entertaining. The E.T. sample on “King of Fighters” is enough to up the album’s fun quotient, but everything from a hearing aid commercial to funky ’70s synthesizer lines are used to create the proper environment for the songs.
There are doubtless those who would dismiss Funk Man as one more over-the-hill rapper banking on his established credibility to stay afloat in a game that’s left him behind. Not only does this fail to address the quality of Del’s work here, but it makes the assumption that the new is always better. As Funk Man (the Stimulus Package) proves, sometimes this just isn’t the case.
(The album is available as a free download here.)