The Council sounds like a wicked circle of illuminati conspirators planning to bring about the New World Order. That’s nothing against the word “council” whatsoever. The normally mild and inoffensive word “the” becomes a powerful modifier here, implying that there is no council but The Council, an organization that supersedes all others in existence. What man, woman, or child would dare to stand against the fearsome power and political clout of The Council?

In an even more curious twist, this new Council which sprang forth full grown like Athena has announced their plans to release Del the Funky Homosapien’s triple CD “Golden Era” on April 19th. The Hieroglyphics founder and urban poet extraordinaire is on record as opposing the New World Order where the rights of the citizen are subsumed by the corporate world government. Obviously then this Council can’t be as wicked as their name implies, to release not just one but THREE Del discs at one time as one complete set. Two out of three discs are digital-only albums being put in print for the first time: “Funk Man” and “Automatik Statik.” The third is entirely original new material.

“Heh – bro, you mediocre
And proud of it, you clumsy ogre!
Chk, you dummies don’t know
what you gettin yourselves into, the menu
the myriad, the plethora, diesel I’m extra
Rep the East Bay, you jesters meet your fate
I’ma show you how to ball, how to pop your collarbone
How to fall into a zone and call it home
Home in on ya like a homing pigeon with flow precision
No admittance to trolls and midgets
I’m cold and frigid, roll with vicious
verbal weaponry so dig it!”

The songs on “Golden Era” may not hail from rap’s golden era, but the flow he throws on “Raw” as seen above is certainly classic Del. Latecomers to his style will quickly realize why he’s beloved by hardcore hip-hop heads – he’s cocky, he’s confident, and he backs it up with an advanced vernacular and a willingness to forego traditional flow. Del raps like a tapestry, weaving bars together into thought patterns that are more significant than any one thread. He’s not a punchline rapper looking for one knockout blow, which is not to say he’s incapable of delivering one in a battle, but rather he’s more of a Nick Diaz type of emcee. Del uses precision strikes from all angles to soften up his competition, and when they are incapable of hanging with him any more, they go down to submission.

Now it’s time to temper the good news with some bad news. Bear in mind this is an early advance copy and therefore subject to change, but there are only 10 new songs on “Golden Era.” If the triple-disc set is value priced then it might not be such a bad deal; if on the other hand you already downloaded the other two albums and the entire set retails at $15.99 or more you’ll pay up to $1.50 a song for the new shit. If you made more than the minimum $3 donation for a copy of “Automatik Statik” the cost of “Golden Era” could be a bit prohibitive.

Since the liner notes in this promotional disc are a carbon copy of the press release accompanying it, this next part is sheer conjecture, but the new material of “Golden Era” appears to be entirely self-produced. Much like Kool Keith, Del is at his best when working with other producers who can bring out the best in him. He’s much more structured lyrically and musically than Keith Thornton on the whole, but “Pearly Gates” exemplifies how and where Del can go horribly wrong. Even if it wasn’t his production, it was just a plain bad idea. The vocals are mixed so far underneath the instrumental as to make the lyrics almost unintelligible, and that instrumental is nothing to write home about. It’s a cacophony of crashing hi-hats and cymbals that seems to have been thrown out into the middle of traffic, car horns honking all around. NO BUYS.

There’s more to like about the new material on “Golden Era” than not, particularly considering how gifted Del is as a lyricist. Some of what’s found here is downright brilliant: the stomping P-Funk inspired “Upside Down,” the bouncy economic braggadocious “Break the Bank” with the classic Del line “anything’s possible when I drop a flow,” and the minimalistic electronic sounds of “Makes No Sense” where Del dismisses weak-minded simpletons and proudly announces “I give a fuck about who offended.” One gets the sneaking suspicion though that there’s a slightly wicked element to The Council after all. Had they been willing to pony up to provide Del some instrumentals from the likes of Primo and Alchemist, or at the very least given adequate compensation to his Hieroglyphics compatriots and let THEM take the reigns of production, the end result would have been vastly superior. “Golden Era” is hit or miss, but thankfully it’s more of the former than the latter.