Del & Tame One - Parallel Uni-Verses (LP - Purple Haze Vinyl)
Del The Funky Homosapien and Tame One Announce Parallel Uni-Verses Album: Two of Hip-Hop’s Most Respected Lyricists Together For the First Time
Remember the old-school Marvel Team-Up comic book which paired, say, Spider-Man with Thor, Wolverine with the Human Torch, or the Hulk and Daredevil? In the spirit of those classic collaborations, Gold Dust announces Parallel Uni-Verses, a joint effort between Hieroglyphics founder Del The Funky Homosapien and original Artifacts emcee Tame One. Produced entirely by Parallel Thought, the album’s ten tracks return to a time when inventiveness, creativity, funky beats—and, above all, lyricism—ruled hip-hop.
Oakland’s Del The Funky Homosapien is one of the creators of the alternative rap genre, a perennial fan favorite who, in addition to releasing four solo albums—including 1992’s seminal, gold-selling I Wish My Brother George Was Here--and two group albums with Hieroglyphics, was featured on the Gorillaz’ epononymous, platinum-selling debut and Dan the Automator’s sci-fi-themed concept album Deltron 3030.
Newark’s Tame One is best known as one-half of the Artifacts, a graffiti-writing hip-hop duo active in the mid- and late-90s, whose output includes the classic singles “Wrong Side of Da Tracks” and “The Ultimate.” In recent years, Tame has been a member of two underground supergroups: the Weatherman (with Cage, Camu Tao, and Aesop Rock); and the Leak Brothers (with Cage).
“I’ve known Tame for years,” Del says. “I always thought he was one of the dopest [MCs] out.” Del recalls first linking with Tame around 1993. “We both were kinda like party animals so that's kinda how I got to liking his personality. He has a good sense of humor, so that's probably the main reason I liked to be around him. We somewhat kept in touch throughout the years, back and forth, but I always would follow his career.”
“We just always remained cool,” Tame says of Del, adding, “I have ALWAYS been impressed by his wordplay and originality. Rap-wise, neither of us use words only because they rhyme; I believe we both utilize substance as opposed to nonsense.”
This project came about, Tame says, out of a need to “showcase how things used to be done, without the politics of the day, bling-bling aspirations, greed and egos corrupting the hip-hop art form.” An unselfish creative process governed the recording process, with both emcees and the Parallel Thought production team focused on using the best of today’s technology, while still keeping an old-school formula. “It was done very James Brownish, if you can dig that,” Del says. “James did everything by feel. If it felt right, then that's what it was, and Tame is very much like that.”
For Tame, the entire album is a testament to what he calls a “grassroots” hip-hop aesthetic, which stands out over other contemporary rap releases “because of the sonic quality and clarity of the samples and our vocal performances.” Asked to name his favorite tracks on the album, Del says, “man, you asking the wrong person. I don’t play favorites. I like each joint for different reasons and they all have they place. I'll let the public decide which ones they may favor, smell me?”
Parallel Uni-Verses is that rare rap album which transcends tired clichés and maintains traditional hip-hop values without seeming retro or passé. “Man, I ain't even gonna be egotistical like that and try to say that we are trying to usher in some new revival of whatever,” Del says. However, he adds, “I'm a say this: we ARE the element that is missing, not [just] because I said so. That's what's up; we didn't sell out for all the luxury and monetary gains. The original ways, we kept at and built upon those.”
Proving that true lyricism is alive and well, Parallel Uni-Verses is another feather in the cap for Del and Tame, two prolific and highly-respected artists upholding the hip-hop art form at its best—and holding their own