Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Eleventh Hour
Def Jux

After a three-year delay, Ice Cube's cousin shows why he's become an enduring rapper

In the 17 years and half a lifetime since his infectious nonsense rap "Mistadobalina," Del the Funky Homosapien has been on "cruise control." So he boasts on his first album since 2000's well-respected Both Sides of the Brain. Rapper of choice on such prestige projects as the Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz' "Clint Eastwood," Del always exudes confidence and never swaggers: "They say I'm cold/But I told you/I got goals/I focus on the whole." Just as he claims, his calm articulation and clean beats never waver--where once he copped to vices and joked about dirty asses, now his "naked funk" is all about a craft that won't quit. That's impressive. But it's also limited. The point of cruise control is to arrive well rested. With Del, it's not clear he'll ever get out of the car.

Blender, Apr. 2008