Del the Funky Homosapien & Tame One, "Parallel Uni-Verses"

Album Review

There aren't any chart-topping guests on the new release from Oakland, Calif., hip-hop pioneer Del the Funky Homosapien and New Jersey underground stalwart Tame One. "Parallel Uni-Verses" is a true East Coast/West Coast dual team-up; every track a shared effort of like minds and tight handoffs. The song "Gaining Ground" revisits Del's past with futuristic ambient grooves, while "Teddy" is a hot metallic mix of crackly funk horns and space-age effects. Some may hear tracks like "The Franchise" as sour grapes for other rappers' current commercial success, but the duo backs up its devotion to classic sounds with rich layers of funk, soul, jazz, blues and rock sampling that honor the genre-bending experimentation prevalent in '80s and early-'90s hip-hop. It's a blending that the pair calls out in the song "Flashback," with references to Herbie Hancock and Hall & Oates alike.-Evie Nagy