75 Ark, 2000
Deltron 3030 is the collaboration between two amazing Hip Hop energumens. Both were not at their first try. On his side, Del The Funky Homosapien started his underground career in the early 90’s in a style of writing a little wacky of his own with P-Funk sounds à la George Clinton. His second album No Need For Alarm was more or less misunderstood by the public because of its extravagance, which made him stay on the underground scene. He is also the founding member of Hieroglyphics, a collective of Bay Area artists with whom he regularly collaborates.
As for Dan The Automator, he started in the late 80’s as a DJ and with a few EPs that remained anonymous. His career became more serious when he met another strange character of Hip Hop, Kool Keith aka Dr. Octagon, for the production of Dr. Octagoncologyst in 1996. Noticed for his eccentric, futuristic and psychedelic works, he starts to get more visibility. He joined forces with the legendary Prince Paul to form the duo Handsome Boy Modeling School with their first producer’s album, So… How’s Your Girl? in 1999, which marked the first collaborations with Del who rapped on two tracks.
Now that the introductions are made, the collaboration between the two is not surprising considering the eccentricity of their respective styles, not to mention the fact that they are both from the San Francisco Bay Area. Canadian DJ Kid Koala will join the duo behind the decks with his renowned skills for mixing and scratching in a variety of styles.
The album is made as a rap opera with a story that takes place in a dystopia in 3030. Del takes on the role of Deltron Zero, a disillusioned interplanetary mercenary warrior and computer prodigy rebelling against a 31st century New World Order. Dan plays The Automator, a time-traveling cyborg wizard. The album tells of a dualistic conflict of fatalism between the moral concepts of righteousness and malevolence. It features the prophetic fate of Deltron Zero and his hunger to fight to overthrow the megalithic corporations that megalomaniacally rule the universe, repressing both human rights and Hip Hop, in a “Global Apartheid”. Finally, an allegory of the struggle of the Hip Hop culture and the black American community against the government.
Legend has it that the lyrics were written in less than two weeks. In Del’s usual style, they are full of outlandish allusions to futuristic outer space themes, combining humor, social message and epic Star Wars battle. He includes a multitude of free references to science-fiction classics such as The Matrix or Ghost In A Shell. Del tells of his hero’s struggles and adventures against his oppressors, becoming the champion of the Galactic Federation of Rhyme. He is finally captured by the New World Order on Memory Loss, which erases his memory, making his quest finally useless and forgotten. Music seems to be the weapon in this fight.
3030, DelDel, I’m feeling like a ghost in a shell
I wrote this in jail playing host to a cell
For the pure verbal, they said my sentence was equivalent to murder
Just another hurdle, I bounced through a portal
I knew they had the mindstate of mere mortals
My ears morphed to receptors that catch your
Every word about gravity control
And the families they hold for handsome ransoms
On the run with a handgun, blast bioforms, I am warned
That a planet-wide manhunt with cannons
Deltron 3030 is very interesting from a political and social point of view. Del deals with a lot of issues ranging from oppression, racism, identitarism to education, in a philosophical, humorous and pamphleteering way. The mix is perfect for not being too violent and off-putting while still skillfully denouncing. The stories are ultimately captivating with enough drama, comedy and action with Del’s smooth flow and sing-along choruses.
Dan The Automator will offer an epic atmosphere, including electronic and robotic noises to accompany the adventures of our hero. The atmosphere is resolutely cinematographic, at the same time dramatic, fantastic, futuristic and spatial. Between the epic 3030, the mystical Mastermind, the magical Things You Can Do, the tragic Madness or the triumphant Memory Loss, the album goes through multiple ambiances all equally well mastered to support the story.
The beauty of Deltron 3030 lies in both its conception and its realization. The album is thought like a novel or a movie with a scenario worthy of the name supported by an impeccable music and a perfectly narrated story. An experimental album with a cyber-punk atmosphere and a very relevant social and political message. A concept used in its entirety on creative productions accompanied by an ubiquitous and satirical story.