Aceyalone and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien

While NYC's Native Tongues posse was kicking off "conscious rap" with acts such as A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, Aceyalone was inaugurating the West Coast alternative, Freestyle Fellowship. Nowhere near as successful as the aforementioned groups, nonetheless it planted the seeds for later groups such as Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples. Aceyalone's latest, 2003's Love & Hate, features plenty of great guests and producers, including El-P, Def Jux's RJD2, and Antipop Consortium, as Aceyalone demonstrates his verbal virtuosity and his continuing hip-hop relevance. Equally lyrically dexterous is Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, whose observational urban commentary, loose jocularity, and occasional psychedelic dementia more recall De La Soul than his cousin Ice Cube's work. While boasting a similar Southern twang to Cube, Del has traced an even more mercurial path, highlighted by his side project/concept album with Dan the Automator (Gorillaz) and turntablist Kid Koala, Deltron 3030, which presented an imaginative sci-fi dystopia reminiscent of Brazil crossed with Blade Runner.

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