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Del tha Funkee Homosapian jumped on the scene way back in 1991, after writing some lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube’s side-project Da Lench Mob. Along with his Bay Area crew the Heiroglyphics, the man basically helped establish West Coast as a hot bed of underground rappers that functioned outside of the established gangsta rap conventions of the day.He had a little chart success with the single “Mistadobalina”, which was a staple of “alternative” club dance nights back in the day, but has mostly excelled outside of the mainstream, turning in a ton of quality albums both solo and in Deltron 3030 (a collaboration with Dan the Automator). He’s probably best known to pop fans for his verses on the hit “Clint Eastwood” by the cartoon supergroup Gorillaz.In addition, it turns out the dude is a HUGE game nerd, a fact he proved once and for all with the song “Proto Culture (feat. Khaos Unique)”, which was buried towards the end of his excellent 2000 album Both Sides of the Brain.Digging into this song, it’s a virtual treasure trove of classic game references, with a heavy emphasis on old school Japanese imports, something Del seems obsessed with to a near lunatic degree.Along with Khaos Unique, Del proceeds to rock a 16-bit flavored track (which is based on a sample from the game Darkstalkers) with a cornucopia of game knowledge. From his first line – “I play games from Capcom, with a Power Glove strapped on” – it’s pretty clear Del is a serious gamer, boasting about playing his friend’s Colecovision and owning the first issue of Nintendo Power. From there, it only gets deeper as Del name checks the primordial RTS Herzog Zwei, rhymes “Xenogears” with “relieves my fears”, and admonishes former Sega head Bernie Stolar for dropping the ball on the marketing Sega Saturn RAM cartridge, which was required at the time to play arcade perfect fighting games like the Del-favorite X-Men vs. Street Fighter.Overall, it’s a great tribute to the hobby we all love, and better for the fact that these dudes can actually rap – witness Khaos Unique’s jaw-dropping internal rhymes schemes on lines like “Phantasma plasma particle beam means I have ya, on the run, the rendered effects hot like magma”.Check it out. It’s definitely one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of all time.
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