Twenty years after the release of his first album, Oakland hip hop mainstay and Hieroglyphics member Del The Funky Homosapien is still going strong. Along with the new material, the CD is being sold as a triple pack, including two albums only previously available as digital downloads, Automatik Statik and Funk Man. It’s a great gesture for his fans, but for the purposes of this review, we’ll be focusing only on the new material.

Golden Era is a one-man showcase, with Del on the mic and doing production on every track. As an emcee, if you’re already familiar with Del, there are not a lot of surprises here, but that’s not a bad thing. He possesses an infectious singsong delivery and creative wordplay that spices up songs even when the subject matter is mundane. For the majority of the album, Del takes on the rap industry, whether its wannabe emcees or the record industry. This isn’t necessarily groundbreaking material, but few have the creative rhyme schemes and subtle humor that Del showcases here.

In all the discussion of Del over the years, people focus on his skills as an emcee and the cult of personality he’s developed as an entertainer. Lost in the mix is the acknowledgement of Del’s skills as producer. The album is full of funky, interesting music with varied sounds. He manages to create a balance between the simple funk of old school hip hop with harsh industrial beats that line up with his lyrics perfectly. It’s something he’s been doing for years, and I think he needs to get his dues as a producer.

Golden Era isn’t a landmark album, but it’s the type of album that should make you stop and appreciate that we have artists like Del who never sold out, appreciate their fans, and keep coming up with funky, interesting music.