Hieroglyphics leader Del the Funkee Homosapien [click to read], and original Artifacts and Weathermen member Tame One [click to read] join bi-coastal forces to bring Hip Hop a throwback album. Filled with the type of lyricism that spurned both of their careers and a solid effort on the boards by New Jersey duo Parallel Thought, the collective constructed an album that is passionate, skillful and truly worthy of its name Parallel Uni-verses.
The album starts off with soulful production by Parallel Thought, who makes the most of this full length effort. Weaving between samples while bringing a true underground sound that compliments the emcees, Thought shines. By setting the tone from get go, Del and Tame, at times struggle to reach the bar. When they do, they clear it without effort. Both revert to spitting those conscious verses, with sporadic humor throughout that grabbed our attention 15 years ago. At times, they struggle to diversify their content, which can make it hard for the listener to differentiate between tracks due to the lack of variety. In same breath, that same struggle provides the album with a stability that is often unheard in today’s soundscape. The album has fluidity to it, but the lack of diversity prevents it from ever being great.
Tame One opens up “Specifics” with a straightforward lyric filled with confidence, “Fuck what you commit to memory, / I could wing it and bring it doper.” The line itself represents what both Tame One and Del The Funkee Homosapien, bring to this album, a return to the roots of Hip Hop, when emcees spit without the pretenses of ego and constructed personalities clouding the culture. They spend a great deal of time investing into the cultures roots and past, name dropping its forefathers throughout while making sure the listener understands the impact that the two of them have made as well. It’s a noble gesture or ode to Hip Hop, one that isn’t done often enough. No area or element of the culture goes untouched.
From a dope effort on, “Keep it Up” to “Specifics” where both emcees slay the track, Del and Tame more prove their relevance. Parallel Thought provides a back drop that fits the emcees perfectly and allows this project to be as genuine as it is. The beats aren’t flashy and don’t rely on the latest trend, just as Del and Tame have never spent great deals of time speaking of momentary gains or luxury, they rely on, just as Parallel Thought does, being good at what you do.
A trip down memory lane can spark all types of emotions and reminiscing. In order to keep coming back to that lane, and making that trip, the road must be smooth without divots and obstacles. Unfortunately Tame One and Del The Funkee Homosapien present us with a ride that has the occasional pothole and divot, but still allows us to savior the beauty of the culture on that ride. Hip Hop doesn’t take that trip often enough, but even taking one listen of Parallel Uni-verses captures that feeling that we had when we first met the culture. It’s not perfect but it’s an admirable effort indeed from two emcees who have parallel careers, and four element crowns.