Del tha Funkee Homosapien has collaborated with Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School and The Coup. He's had tracks featured in video games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and movies like Beerfest. But the average rap fan couldn't name one of his songs.
Some people in his position would be trying to figure out what they were doing wrong. But Del acts as though flying under mainstream's radar is exactly where he wants to be: "Nothing against big labels, but I need to call the shots. I need to have control," Del explains. As part of the West Coast's premier underground crew, Hieroglyphics, Del is familiar with running a label and the work involved in making and releasing independent music.
He's always been a bit different, and he first made his splash in the early '90s rap scene by rhyming about his life. A pioneer in the ever-sparse field of acid rap, Del's long been the type to rhyme about getting dissed by chicks or having a friend crash on your couch for just a little too long. It's kept him busy, even if he hasn't released a new solo album since 2000's Both Sides of the Brain: He's on tour for 11th Hour, to be released next year by New York independent Definitive Jux. His 44-date tour with Devin the Dude and Coughee Brothaz will keep him on the road until mid-November. A sequel to Deltron 3030—his collaboration with producer Dan the Automator and turntable master Kid Koala—is in the works, as well as a few collaborations that he's keeping to himself.
"You stand to make a lot more money or lose a lot of money," Del says of staying independent. "But I see it as the best of both worlds."
Del tha Funkee Homosapien plays Cat's Cradle Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9:30 p.m. Devin the Dude, Coughee Brothaz, Burkue One and Serendipity Project open. Tickets are $18-$20.