My album review that didn’t get published.
Why Deltron 3030 Still Matters
In the year 2000, I was going to high school in Oakland. Being a punk rocker, frayed jeans, black Converse and a sour attitude were my daily attire. Then I heard the album Deltron 3030 — a collaborative album between Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan The Automator and Kid Koala. (This was before Del and Automator blew up with Damon Alburn with Gorillaz.) I had heard some hip hop staples (De La Soul, Dre’s The Chronic) and had a tape of this kind of music on heavy rotation in my old Plymouth Acclaim. But Deltron 3030 changed my view on the genre. Instead of songs about life being nothing but a “G Thang” or wallets left in El Segundo, I found myself in a dystopian future, where I heard a mech warrior extolling the virtues of overthrowing government corporations through the power of rhyme. The samples weren’t 70s hooks, but classical music. The bass lines were in a heavy groove and the beats were relentless.
This one album changed the face of underground hip hop, and it changed my attitude about the world around me.
Thirteen years later, I found myself at Rock The Bells. Sure, I was looking forward to seeing Easy E’s hologram back up Bone Thugs N Harmony as much as the next guy, but I had bought my ticket as soon as it was available because of the billing a third of the way down the list: Deltron. And I wasn’t disappointed. Their set was the best performance of the festival, and it was packed. I mean, come on. Who else but Kid Koala could ever get their backup trombonist to get buck-wild on stage with his turntablism?
This brings us to today. Dan the Automator, Del The Funkee Homosapian and Kid Koala have come back together for Event 2. Overall, this highly polished, hip hop opus is a futurist look at our modern condition. It’s also a testament to how good a collaboration album can be. Lastly, it’s a great album and you should buy it. Seriously. It’s worth it.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (yeah, that guy from Inception and 3rd Rock from the Sun) opens the album with a premise. It’s been ten years since the great Deltron Zero and Automator saved the world from corporate greed. The world is in despair and in financial collapse…again. Yet there is a whisper on the public’s lips: they are returning. The strings swell and the beat drops. The veteran mech soldier and the automator have indeed returned to take the world back. And spoiler: They do. The same delivery of orchestral samples come through the current album surging over the traditional hip hop break beat that don’t sound like they are coming out of a drum machine but actually recorded in it’s entirety in studio. Kid Koala’s work is showcased throughout the album but it’s not overbearing like any of his solo work. The album continues with songs featuring Zach Del La Rocha and The Lonely Island. Certainly one could say that an album with two such artists couldn’t work, because of the great disparity over the two artists. This is untrue. It works because the message is the same, it’s just delivered differently. Deltron’s first album effected so many different people and they come together for Event II.
The world of Event 2 is in dire need of help and Deltron and Automator are on it. A future where consumerism is at full tilt, people are mindless automatons, money is short, our food is in pill form, and fashion is even more nonsensical than ever. Perhaps not much has changed, but thankfully Deltron 3030 still has all of the right answers.
This album and this group are worth your time because they deliver a relevant, thought-provoking look at our present by creating a future that isn’t too far fetched. And yet still out of this world.