After getting his foot in the door in 1991 with his debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here, Del The Funkyhomosapien (formerly Del The Funkee Homosapien) would begin to introduce the world to his Hieroglyphics crew. The Hieroglyphics are the Oakland based collective of emcees and deejays/producers (consisting of Souls of Mischief (A-Plus, Phesto, Opio and Tajai), Extra Prolific (Snupe and Mike G), Casual, Pep-Love, Domino (not to be confused with the “Ghetto Jam” Domino), Jay-Biz and DJ Toure) who defied the typical gangster rhyme style and g-funk based production sound that most of their left coast counterparts partook in, in exchange for a mix of conscious content mixed with battle bars and jazz and funk loops over boom-bap drum beats, similar to, say A Tribe Called Quest (of course I had to some how sneak their name into this post). First out the pack in 1993 would be The Souls of Mischief, who would make quite the first impression with their classic debut ’93 Til Infinity. Then Del would strike with his second release, No Need For Alarm.
Ice Cube and The Boogiemen handled most of the production for Del’s debut, but this time around Del and members from Hiero would provide all the instrumentals, and a few of them would also make cameos on the mic as well. No Need For Alarm was highly praised by the critics and fans, and its been said that it’s the second of three classic Golden-era albums from the Hiero crew (with the first being ’93 Til Infinity and Casual’s Fear Itself, the third). I can confirm the first, I recently bought the third and still haven’t listened to it, but today we’re only concerned with the second one.
Let’s give her a listen, shall we?
You’re in Shambles – No Need For Alarm opens with what sounds like a dark chopped up violin (or horn?) sample, that morphs into some horror movie type shit (courtesy of Snupe). Del tip toes over the beat and dishes out verbal lashing to all emcees within earshot. Dope start to the evening.
Catch a Bad One – This was No Need For Alarm‘s lead single and is and probably always will be, my favorite Del The Funkyhomosapien song. Casual hooks up a nasty backdrop that has both a regal and hardcore feel (I can’t tell if that’s a bass guitar or violin sample at the beginning of the song, but whatever it is is disgusting), and Del sounds triumphant as he continues his articulate verbal assault on his contemporaries. If you forgot about this one or never heard it, I’d advise you to revisit it or look it up. This is a great hip-hop record that sounds even better today that it did twenty plus years ago.
Wack M.C.’s – Del continues his trash talk to emcees on this one. On the song’s opening verse it sounds like he may have taken a shot at Treach with the line “Forfeit, because your shit’s, unbearable, terrible, sounds like you’re sharing flows with Treach” (if you have any info on a beef between the two, feel free to chime in in the comments). I like Del, but if he and Treach were to battle back in the day, I’d put my money on Treach…but I digress. Del’s instrumental is decent and overall the song winds up sounding pretty decent too.
No Need For Alarm – Domino lays down a mediocre instrumental for the title track and Del does his best to bring it to life, to no avail. I did find his line “No time for tiddlywinks, if your titties is pink, then you are white and I’m not the right man” pretty funny. Something about the word “tiddlywinks” and “pink titties” together is hi-larious to me.
Boo Boo Heads – One of Del’s ex-lovers did him dirty and left him heart-broken, and this song is his emotional reaction to the pain she caused him. Kurious makes a useless cameo at the beginning of the song, and the SD50’s hook up a fatigued backdrop that brings the song to a grinding halt.
Treats For The Kiddies – The SD50’s fail Del yet again with this garbage instrumental. I was so bored with the instrumental that I couldn’t even focus on Del’s rhymes.
Worldwide – Del gets his Shock G on and summons his sixteen year old inner child, who goes by the name of Unicron, and each of them get a verse on this one. Casual’s zany instrumental complements the song’s theme, well.
No More Worries – Del invites A-Plus, Casual and Snupe to join him on this cipher joint, and I have to say that Snupe delivers the strongest verse out of the four (I wonder what Extra Prolific is up to these days). Props to Domino for the solid instrumental…I love the tribal like drums on it.
Wrongplace – Del lays down a soulful backdrop for himself and shares a few different scenarios where he was guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This one still sounds amazing.
In and Out – That’s exactly what this song does to my ears every time I listen to it.
Don’t Forget – Domino takes the listener to church with a dope instrumental built around a scorchin’ hot organ sample, as Del reminds the listener to “don’t forget your niggas”.
Miles To Go – More battle rhymes from our host over a dry Jay-Biz backdrop.
Check It Ooout – Del hooks up a dope slightly soulful mid-tempo instrumental and uses it to verbally attack rival emcees. I wonder if Del was talking about someone specifically with his line: “if he go off beat and it’s on purpose, he gotta come back on beat or the effort is worthless”. But the line that keeps me in cramps is “Cause I’m relentless with a sentence…a jail sentence after I beat you senseless”. He saves the last verse for Danyel Smith, a magazine editor and journalist who wrote an article for Rolling Stone Magazine that Del felt painted he and his Hieroglyphics crew in a negative light. Wait…did he really just threaten to rip a part her skull?
Thank Youse – A-Plus gets credit for the final instrumental of the evening, and it’s a pretty little diddly that Del uses to send his appreciation to the fans for listening. It’s short, sweet and serves as a nice little bow on the album.
Nostalgia can be a strange thing. My memories of No Need For Alarm had it sounding a lot more entertaining than it did today. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a terrible album. Del delivers lyrically throughout and proves he’ s a dope emcee (and a lot more violent than he was on I Wish My Brother George Was Here), but the production is a bit uneven and during the midway point of the album, it makes following Del’s intricate rhyme style a bit challenging. No Need For Alarm is a decent listen, but not nearly as strong as his Souls of Mischief brethren’s debut album released a few months earlier.