Reno may not be the diversity capital of the world, so it was no surprise when the many of hip-hop heads that turned out for Del The Funky Homosapien at 1UP on Saturday night were sporting snowboarding brand clothes and thick, mountain-men beards. Though, that didn’t stop him from treating the audience like family.
“We love y’all,” shouted A-Plus, Del’s hype man and fellow rapper. “This ain’t like going to Iowa, Reno is the West Coast.”
And that set the tone for the night. Every song, every call and respond, and at every break between, Del embraced Reno and Reno embraced Del. The crowd went bonkers as Del took the stage near midnight, following opening acts Bukue One and local rapper Elsewhere. Starting off with a freestyle before launching into the hard-hitting “At The Helm,” fans bobbed and rapped along to the ACME factory-esque beat.
Del did this throughout the show, bouncing from hit song to freestyle, keeping even his most loyal fans guessing. He mixed it up constantly, adding alternate verses to classic tracks to freestyling over “I Got 5 On It” as a shoutout to the whole West Coast.
Performing on the 1UP stage, the audience was huddled in close with no barricade or fence separating the fans from Del. Reaching out, he continuously graced fans with handshakes and fist bumps throughout the show, going so far as to perform “Thank Youse,” dedicating the track to every person who came out to see him or bought his records.
As Del took an intermission nearly 20 minutes into his set, A-Plus jumped on the mic, performing a pair of songs before Del came back on with his first single, “Mistadobalina.”
This show was part of Del’s “Golden Era Tour,” promoting the album of the same name. Though released last April, Del and A-Plus informed the crowd that the music they make is for the fans, and so publicity for the record was generally under-represented. The name of the tour fit the show regardless, as Del played songs from the record as well as his own contributions to what many see as the Golden Era of hip-hop, including ‘90s favorites like “Dr. Bombay” and “No Need for Alarm.”
He also said the new Deltron 3030 record was on the way, but was pushed back due to some representation disputes. This short explanation bled seamlessly into “Virus,” as the crowd once again conjoined to a roaring opus of rhyming.
Also accompanying Del onstage was a live bassist and Bukue One as DJ. These elements took the already intimate setting to a whole new reality, complementing Del’s voice and flow with a deep funk. During one of his freestyles, Del insisted on only being accompanied by the bass, tearing into the simple beat like a starving man at a bag of potato chips.
Incredibly gracious and light-hearted, Del finished his set with a “Clint Eastwood” remix, before leaving the stage near 1:30 a.m. After an hour and a half, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien had absorbed all the love Reno had to offer, amplified it, and given it right back. Del said many times throughout the show that the West Coast was his home, and after Saturday night’s performance, so is Reno.
At The Helm
No Need for Alarm
Get It Right Now!
If You Must