Hip-hop is dead. Nas said so. So where does that leave the vets still cranking out good tunes? It's tempting to overfetishize early ‘90s boom bap and turn Enter The 36 Chambers into a religion, keeping hip-hop alive in the same way Elvis impersonators imitate his behavior and insist he was really abducted by aliens and is living fat and happy in outer space, an approach that's worked wonders for the likes of Jedi Mind Tricks, Army Of The Pharohs, The Demigodz, etc. Others, like the Def Jux crew (who had a fabulous diss war with JMT n' Co. a few years back), leave it all behind in a mess of incomprehensible abstractions about martians and comic books, along with a sense of production reaching more toward industrial music and The Mary Anne Hobbes show.
It's not much of a surprise, then, seeing Del team up with Def Jux. Last century's Deltron 3030 laid Del's sci-fi nerd roots bare over Dan The Automator's Big Money Sound, and Hieroglyphics has always indulged in fantasies involving extraterrestrials. So, let's get excited already -- more self-consciously intellectual babbling over broken synths and found sounds! Awesome!
Seriously, though, this is an exciting development for the "independent as fuck" crowd, whether you think Celph Titled is the second coming of Christ or Aseop Rock is a mouthpiece for the Godhead. Del's produced the entirety of his new LP, The 11th Hour, on his own, so we won't have to worry about El-Producto getting his grubby little hands all over his sound. Who knows, maybe Del can bring a little of that early ‘90s sound he had on I Wish My brother George Was Here and No Need For Alarm to Def Jux's relatively stagnant "experimentation." You can do some detective work on your own and see Del perform his new material live with that Devin The Dude guy, or alternatively pick up Del's new DVD, also titled The 11th Hour, shot during the early stages of production for Del's first solo work in eight years. Let's just hope we can figure out what the hell Del's going on about once the album's released on February 26, 2008.