Both Sides of The Brain


If Deltron 3030 was Del the Funky Homosapien’s ambitious star-studded conceptual hip-hop space opera, he was a lot more down-to-earth on the solo-billed album he released a month earlier — but that doesn’t necessarily make Both Sides of the Brain ordinary. Instead, it’s a sort of inversion, where the MC is so willing to stake his rep on his phrase-turning, punchline delivery, and sheer force of unapologetic geek-out idiosyncrasy that he’ll just fill a record with tracks about whatthefuckever and still immolate the competition. It’s like Biz Markie’s everyman goofiness recalibrated for the battle-rap set: want to hear him nerd out over his video game collection 20 years before Twitch streaming? Enjoy him and Khaos Unique on “Proto Culture” giving props to a canon that stretches from Colecovision deep cuts to Dreamcast imports. Interested in hearing his advice for people with hygiene problems? “If You Must” extends bad-smell punchlines from the dozens to the hundreds and caps it off with a so-stupid-it’s-glorious hook (“You gotta wash your ass, if you must/You gotta wash your hair, if you must/You gotta brush your teeth, if you must/Or else you’ll be funk-kay“). Want a DWI PSA? “Skull and Crossbones” has him relish the grim details of car wrecks in ways that feel like Richard Pryor reciting “Warm Leatherette” to a high school Driver’s Ed class. It’s not all funny, though: his sense of craft dominates, borne out in the way his flow dips and soars and attacks the beat — most of which he also made, with a production palette that favors a kind of quick-footed funk that’s heavy on grimy keyboards. And that goes hand in hand with his tendency to hold nothing back in terms of calling out anyone lacking in either lyrical skills (which, compared to the elaborate internal rhymes in “Signature Slogans” and “Style Police,” might as well be everybody else) or basic social propriety (“Pet Peeves / FWA (Fair Weather Associates),” a multi-part suite that decimates an entire rogue’s gallery worth of gossips, haters, and wannabes).

Nate Patrin

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