It's been a minute since Dellue, a Long Beach-based underground MC, has hit the stage but all that's about to change. With an eye on 2012, the innovative rapper/producer is readying new music and will give hip-hop heads a glimpse of what's to come when he performs this Saturday in Anaheim.
A good starting reference point for those who may have slept on Dellue's music is his 2008 release The Cure, an album that definitively displays undeniable talent with standout tracks like “Supa Dread” and “Power of 1.” Soul influences fuse with boom bap beats to create a familiar, knowable sound, but then the MC takes it all a step higher with a hint of abstraction and lyrical mysticism crafting a unique sound scape of its own. “Harmonious chaos” is the fitting phrase he chooses to explain it all.
Before Dellue hits up the audience this weekend with classic cuts and new music, the Weekly spoke with the rapper about his journey with hip-hop.
OC Weekly (Gabriel San Roman): How did you first get into hip-hop?
Dellue: It actually started out with soul music, growing up with my mom playing classic soul on the 8-track, taking me and my brother to kindergarten. That got me into music and since then I just had beats in my head. Later on in life, I started listening to groups like Run-D.M.C. Growing up, I listened to people drive by bumping Biz Markie. One day when I was 11, I heard this song “Passin' Me By” by this group called The Pharcyde. That just inspired me to write my first rhyme and I've never looked back since.
What experiences took you from being a listener to a performing MC onstage?
I've been performing since I was 17. I rocked my first show at an 8th grade dance. I was 13 years old. They had an open mic and I got up there to spit some rhymes. Everybody was all shocked because I was a quiet kid. Nobody really expected that from me. It just grew from that. My relationship to hip-hop is like I'm married. I just can't let it go. I can't see myself living without making some hot beats and contemplating on it. I can't see life without it man.
The last time I've seen you perform was years ago and after your set you were handing out CDs of your last album The Cure. Before we talk about new music, tell our readers a little bit about that project because it had a lot of dope cuts on it.
That was a long time ago! Pretty much every album that I make is a personal growth for me, like something to prove. The Cure was my favorite lyrically. The rhymes on that, I can't even match that now. I'm working on a new project these days and it's definitely a stepping stone for me. The sound quality is much better. But the music has more groove to it. It's a whole different sound. It always changes as it keeps moving on. My record player broke so I've been using a synthesizer. I started a whole new mission. The new project is going to be something else, man. I don't even have a title for it yet. I've just been banging out, banging out, banging out beats!
The lyrical quality of your last album was top-notch, as you mention, and had an kind of “intergalactic” vibe to it. How do you approach writing your rhymes?
It just comes to me. Most of the time, I'm just on the writer's block and out of nowhere a whole bunch of crazy thoughts come to my head. I start jotting them down. They just come from someplace else, the spirits, god. I'm given the words and I just have this rhythm come to me to put these words into a rhythmic pattern. I believe that each and every person, whether you're making beats or whatever, you have your own fingerprint. You hear any producer or rapper, and they have like a fingerprint. They don't sound the same. I'm given these lyrics from far beyond and it comes out of me in the way that I'm expressing my fingerprint.
As I mentioned, the last show I've seen you at was years ago. Have you been laying low on the scene?
As far as being out on the scene, yeah, I have been laying low, but the music is always going strong, improving and growing, so I really haven't been laying low. When I disappear from the scene, that means I'm in the kitchen cooking up something new, something fresh. I'm in the laboratory concocting some special mixtures. I try to stay as busy as possible. Life's been changing a lot.
When you go onstage on Saturday, are you going to showcase some of that new stuff you've been cooking up or is it going to be a mix?
I'll hit everybody with just a little bit, but not too much though. Most of the cuts will be from The Cure. I'll mix in some new stuff. You'll definitely hear the difference, change, and transition in sound. It's definitely a new level of Dellue. I'm not ready to put it all out there just yet, but I'm working on the new project, and when it's finished, it's pretty much on!
Dellue performs with The Glass Bottom Boat, Carlos Angels, and Struck Sat., at The Good Ol' Boys Saloon, 10624 Katella Ave, Anaheim, (714) 535-4335. Free. 9 p.m. 21+.