Big Dada was started as the hip hop imprint of Ninja Tune. The label has been the home to rappers like Spank Rock, Saul Williams, and Wiley. In that same tradition comes Dels; Big Dada signed the UK-rapper to a three album deal, the first of which is GOB.
When most people think of UK hip hop, they think of grime but Dels style is more electro than that. On GOB, he collaborates with Joe Goddard from Hot Chip; the result is “Shapeshift”, a poppy, high energy electro tune. The track features distorted synths and a fairly straight forward funk beat. The two also collaborate on “Trumpalump”; the track is less electro and actually closer to dubstep but works just as well.
The tracks that I find do not work are the Micachu produced tracks. Micachu is better known for her indie rock work but she has shown her interest in hip hop and grime through a series of mixtapes. The tracks she produces for Dels are much more experimental beats similar to Jay Electronica‘s “Shiny Suit Theory” beat. These experimental beats bring out a different lyrical animal from Dels; this particular lyrical animal is interested in telling stories. I listen to a track like “Droogs” that has an odd beat and Dels relates a story about rape and child abuse. While I understand the importance of the message of the song, the subject matter puts a damper on an album that had seemed like a fun affair up to that point.
Unfortunately, the latter third of the album is produced by Micachu and that left an odd taste in my mouth. The first half of the album has the potential to be the best hip hop album to come out of the UK this year but ending on such a down note will probably keep me from viewing it as so.
MP3: Dels “Shapeshift”
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