Irresistible enough to give both supergroups and concept albums a good name, Deltron 3030 features Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and the production genius of Dan The Automator (Handsome Boy Modeling School, Dr. Octagon) and the turntable wizardry of Kid Koala. A semi-sequel to Dr. Octagon's Dr. Octagonecologyst, Deltron 3030 replaces DJ Q-Bert with Kid Koala, and Kool Keith's obsessions with equally gifted hip-hop eccentric Del's cartoonish science-fiction fantasies. The result is an altogether goofier and lighter but no less progressive masterpiece, casting Del as Deltron Zero, an iconoclastic B-boy space traveler who battles all comers in a 31st-century hellscape. It's a phenomenally silly concept that encourages self-indulgent goofiness (a commercial for Strange Brew, an abundance of fanciful new monikers for everyone involved, cryptic narration from Blur's Damon Albarn), but Deltron provides what Del's disappointing last album sorely lacked: inspired production and focus. One of the best and most adventurous producers in hip-hop, The Automator tops even his mind-boggling work with Dr. Octagon and HBMS, creating a dense, unpredictable masterwork in the process. He finds sounds in places other producers would never think of, channeling what resembles an alternate-universe oldies station captured on ham radio for the choruses of "Madness" and "Things You Can Do" and recruiting Albarn and Sean Lennon for "Time Keeps On Slipping" and "Memory Loss," respectively. Del is a more than fitting replacement for the ever-troubled Kool Keith, kicking fluid, breathtaking rhymes about computer viruses, intergalactic rhyme battles, autograph signings at fan-boy conventions, and other subjects likely to make him an even bigger hero to geeky collegiate hip-hop fans. Deltron 3030 may be set in a desolate, corporate-controlled dystopia, but if this is the sound of the future, we should all eagerly embrace it.
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