hey hey, I thought I’d create a space where I could do more creative work outside of my own music. I don’t have a very firm idea of what this page will be, but here’s a taste of what I’m interested in:
I discovered Deltron 3030 a very long time ago; I think my first taste was Mastermind. It must’ve been sometime around 2007 because I remember that I was also listening to Aesop Rock’s None Shall Pass and Army of the Pharaoh’s Ritual of Battle. They all share a melancholic, cynical air about them that builds towards a eulogy of a bygone era of rap; this was self-identified underground music. Real hip hop. Not D4L and Kanye West.
Right… Of course, I was pretty annoying about that at this time too. I was the 8 year old backpacker shitting on my older brother and cousins because they didn’t think Deltron 3030 was worth anything. He was so different from everyone on the radio. Immortal Technique. Bla bla bla. Yeah, I was one of Those people.
While I imagine and hope that listeners today have largely moved past those diametric ways of approaching music (as in, underground vs. mainstream; real hip hop vs. fake? hip hop), there is an aesthetic at play with these albums that feels both… backwards and forward-thinking? Let me explain.
Deltron 3030 is dystopian hip-hop futurism. I’m sure people would itch to call it afrofuturism and that’s okay, I guess, but I feel like afrofuturism is a bit reductive and clunky overall. I haven’t seen the concept explored with more depth than archetypal ‘black’ markers that conflate African indigeneity and steampunk together into what basically look like Kid Cudi MOTM deviant art edits. I don’t want to write off Afrofuturism as a whole. I could be totally wrong about this! But I haven’t been impressed enough to put that label onto Deltron 3030.
You see, Deltron is doing some sick shit. The future of tomorrow, today-type beat.
Like I was saying, they’re dystopian hip-hop futurism; I think of the album as a glimpse into an extended universe of mecha-urban hip hop where WW4 and the next plague has happened and anyone that feels like a real person hates the daily shuffle of global capitalism, but needs something, someone to remember who they are. Deltron 3030 does that. From the very first song:
On the run with a handgun, blast bioforms, I am warned
That a planet-wide manhunt with cannons
Will make me, abandon, my foolish plan of uprisin’
Fuck dyin, I hijack a mech
Control it with my magical chants, so battle advanced
Through centuries of hip-hop legacy, megaspeed
Hyperwarp to Automator’s crib and light the torch
They can’t fight the force
Victory is ours once we strike the source
Enterprisin’ wise men look to the horizon
Thinkin’ more capitalism is the wisdom
And imprison, all citizens empowered with rhythm
We keep the funk alive by talking with idioms
The last 4 bars there, Jesus. It’s so smooth. It might be a good aesthetic introduction to the rest of the album; what does hip hop look like in 3030? Are labels still fucking people over?
The actual musicality of the album evokes 90s trip hop and hip hop culture. Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Kid Koala (the members) were young and doing things in both those scenes around that time. And, well, the album came out in 2000 so it isn’t really that hard to imagine why it might sound like a 90s project.
Anyways, I just wanted to gloat a bit about this album.
thank u for reading!! :-) here’s a cool bonus pic i found hehe