It’s hard to say exactly which member is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but there’s no doubt that supergroup Deltron 3030 is the Holy Trinity of alt-rap.
Del The Funky Homosapien, Deltron’s namesake and sole rapper, began his solo career at 17 in 1991 (mostly via his cousin Ice Cube hooking him up with gigs) and made a name for himself in no time as a paradigm of experimental West Coast hip hop. By 2000, he had begun work on dystopian concept album Deltron 3030, his first collaboration with DJ Kid Koala and producer Dan the Automator. The self-titled album set in the year (you guessed it) 3030, and credited with creating the subgenre “hip hopera,” tells the story of futuristic Del alter-ego Deltron Zero, a soldier and galactic computer prodigy rebelling against the New World Order. For an undertaking so indulgently experimental, the album is remarkably listenable; its rapid popularity and critical acclaim made it clear that this wouldn’t be the only album the trio produced.
Though Del may be the most famous of the group, Deltron 3030’s greatest strength as a whole arguably lies in the sonic scaffolding built by Dan the Automator and Kid Koala. Without the ominous found-audio intro and classical symphonic sampling on “3030,” Del’s doomsday social criticism might not have a solid place to land.
With 2013’s Event II, the year is 3040, and the trio puts more emphasis on spoken-word interludes featuring amusingly nonsensical voiceovers by actors such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Amber Tamblyn and David Cross. “Look at this guy over here/ With his pants up to his ears,” says Cross over a background of static and solo marimba in “Lawnchair Quarterback Part One.” He continues, “Back in my day, ya know, you’d wear your pants over your ears/ You wouldn’t bring ‘em right up to your ears. That’s ridiculous.”
If that doesn’t sum up Deltron’s crossbreed of absurdity and cultural relevancy, I don’t know what does. As Del says, that’s “not no small feat.”
Deltron 3030 performs 8 pm Monday, Nov. 3, at WOW Hall; $22 adv., $25 door.