Monday, June 15, 2015

Delon Deville presents Parafenelia

Pimpbread Music

    In a time when the big names in hip-hop are so far removed from the hardship of daily life, Delon Deville’s Parafenelia, released in 2011 on Third Degree Burns Records, is a breath of fresh air. The album plays like a soundtrack to the life of a hustler doing what he has to do to get by. The opening track, "LabCoat Chemist," is an ode to hustling and drug dealing, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The beat is ominous and serves as the perfect backdrop for Deville to give the listener a cold dose of reality. Deville combines boasts with warnings - this lifestyle isn't glamorized, but rather a picture is painted that includes the highs and the lows: “It’s a risk that you gotta take/ Staring death in the face ‘til I hit the Pearly Gates.” On “Starrz and Strappz” Deville wonders “how it feels to be retired with a potbelly,” further emphasizing his daily struggle.

    Another theme found on Parafenelia is that of lost love. Tracks like “Ladykiller” and “Going in Circles” describe doomed relationships. “She used to tell me that no one could replace me,” Deville croons, on “Ladykiller,” a track that depicts a picture perfect relationship gone bad. “Whats It Gonna Take?” is another slice of life, as Deville tells the story of another relationship gone sour: “Holdin’ hands, kissin’, yup, the whole pretty picture,” quickly turns to “I should go, I should stay, I thought relationship was bullet proof/ Baby started trippin’, I was really tryin’ to keep it true.” These songs reflect Deville’s commitment to describing real-life scenarios, subject matter that is relatable to the masses.

    Throughout the album Deville is joined by a handful of guests. “Blow Smoke” and “White Walls” feature his Masters of the Universe comrade West Kraven, an artist who he has worked with consistently throughout his career. Parafenelia also features Nelly Nel, Deville’s younger brother, who offers verses and hooks on several tracks, most notably on “From A to Z,” a hustler's anthem dedicated to drug dealing. His cousin, Jihad, appears on two tracks, including the stand-out “Starrz and Strappz.” Jose Cuervo, one of Deville’s homies, also blesses two tracks, “LabCoat Chemist” and “Hey Yung World.” The star of the show here, though, is Deville himself, who produced the entire album and steals the show with subject matter that comes naturally to him.

    Delon Deville is not a new artist. His roots go back to the early 90s, and the abstract, spaced-out material he released under the moniker Shamen 12 was embraced by the San Diego underground. With Parafenelia, though, Deville has carved out a sound and style that is utterly unique, while still being relatable to the people. He describes a world he knows intimately, giving the listener a glimpse into the reality of his daily existence. The futuristic funk that permeates the album is laid back and smoky, creating the perfect atmosphere for his tales of hustling and trying to find love in a cold world. Parafenelia was tragically slept on and remains a highlight in the San Diego veteran’s long and varied career.

You can purchase Parafenelia on bandcamp here.