Del The Funky Homosapien & Souls Of Mischief’s 1997 Freestyle Is A Purist’s Paradise (Audio)
In 1997, the Hieroglyphics crew was embarking on the early stages of an independent Hip-Hop empire. Del The Funky Homosapien (or “Del Tha Funkee Homosapien” as it was at the time) had released two heralded albums with Elektra Records. The Oakland, California quarter of Souls of Mischief has been part of Jive/Zomba Records stronghold in the Bay area, scoring hits and acclaim in their own right. As the Underground Hip-Hop movement gained momentum, these artists left the label system to build a machine that would self-sustain much of their careers for the next 20 years.
Stopping through Las Vegas, Nevada in October of ’97, Hiero was on the road promoting 3rd Eye Vision, their first super-group LP. In a lengthy, three-part interview, Del, Opio, Tajai, and the rest of the crew sat in on the Word Up Radio show (91.5 KUNV). There, the hosts Warren Peace, Pizzo, and Mr. Bob spun wax by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, Mountain Brothers, and Mobb Deep. Around the 35:00 mark, in the hosts discussing M-O-B-B and Tony Touch tape freestyles, the Oaktown collective maintains that when they spit, it’s off the top. When Gang Starr’s “You Know My Steez” instrumental drops in (Moment Of Truth had not yet released), things get improvisational, in a round-robin pass-off (each MC comes back for an encore). For lovers of that carefree Hiero style, it’s all here—including Del holding the mic way too close, and risking some FCC fines with his slip of the tongue.
Tajai and Ope’ (you know he’s dope) sound especially rich on the mic in this just-unearthed moment in rhyme time.
Just before the freestyles, there is some interesting time-capsule conversation about how Hiero was using the Internet at a time when dial-up reigned supreme and quite a few folks had no access to the worldwide web.