‘Deltron 3030’ returns from space with friends

Space…the Final Funktier. These are the continuing voyages of Deltron Zero and the Automator. Their ongoing mission: to explore strange new sounds, to seek out new beats and fresh sci-fi opera conceptualizations, to boldly rhyme where no funky homosapiens have rapped before.

Time traveling back to May 23, 2000, the hip-hop artist Del the Funky Homosapien teamed up with hip-hop music producer Dan the Automator to create a science-fiction concept album known simply as “Deltron 3030.” 

Taking place in the year 3030, listeners followed the dynamic duo of Deltron Zero (Del the Funky Homosapien) and the Automator (Dan the Automator) as their characters battled a corrupt dystopian universe and all the gritty thugs and corporations that ruled it.

The album left fans in shock and awe, for while the science-fiction genre has sprouted and thrived in many different mediums, hip-hop is one that took even the harshest critics by surprise as even a possibility.

Deltron came, rhymed and conquered while developing a cult following in the process.

A sequel to “Deltron 3030” started being planned out back in 2004, but unfortunately ran into a myriad of problems before finally being released nine years later.

The Funky Homosapien and the Automator were back, with hip-hop DJ Kid Koala joining the team to help lay down some memorable sick beats.

Kid Koala and the Funky Homosapien continued to update fans every year on how the sequel album, “Event II,” was coming along when in fact very little to no progress was being made.

Kid Koala and the Automator had the beats laid down and the tracks fleshed out, all that was missing were the lyrics from Del. For “Deltron 3030,” Del had the lyrics written out in a mere week. For “Event II,” it took him a few years.

Despite waiting for the past 13 years, “Event II” is just as good as “Deltron 3030,” but isn’t better.

Almost every track on the album has a different guest artist featured, showing that the Funky Homosapien made quite a few friends throughout the years who were down for a collaboration on his latest record.

The opening track, “Stardate,” features Joseph Gordon-Levitt giving the listener an update on the whereabouts of Deltron Zero and the Automator after their disappearance at the end of the last album—10 of their years ago—in the present year of 3040.

By the end of his log, Gordon-Levitt teases the return of the duo as the album then accelerates into light speed, returning the listener to the familiar sounds and setting of Deltron Zero and the Automator.

The next songs, “The Return” and “Pay the Price” feature the duo doing what they do best; telling the audience where they’ve been and how they’re now back to continue kicking ass.

While “Deltron 3030” did feature some short skits in between songs helping flesh out the universe in where the story takes place, “Event II” really goes wild with the skits this time around, featuring the voice acting talents of David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, David Chang and the Lonely Island.

“Lawnchair Quarterback” parts one and two star Cross and Tamblyn as curmudgeons complaining about the youth of the future, with their thought pipes and pants going up over their ears, all while waiting for a tasty hoover sandwich to drop.

Celebrity chef Chang talks about all the delicious food possibilities in the future on “The Future of Food,” where just by shoving a tube up one’s nose while chewing on a piece of flavorless gum, one can taste a strawberry from any time period due to molecular splicing.

My favorite skit on the album was “Back in the Day” with comedic rap group the Lonely Island, where a couple of old timers are reminiscing about all the events they grew up witnessing all with the help of a sick beat laid down by a Homeless Robot. 

At the end of their rap, Homeless Robot pathetically tries hitting the old timers up for some money and a place to stay until he can get back on his feet, but the old timers have none of it much to Homeless Robot’s dismay.

One of the delightful surprises with the album was the unexpected performance from actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead—Ramona from the “Scott Pilgrim” movie—on tracks “The Agony” and “Look Across the Sky.”

Winstead’s vocals were hauntingly beautiful and piercing, greatly adding to both songs.

Damon Albarn, lead singer of the Gorillaz and longtime friend of the Funky Homosapien, makes another appearance on a Deltron 3030 album, contributing his unique sounding vocals on “What Is This Loneliness”—one of the best songs on the album.

While tracks “Nobody Can,” “Melding of the Minds,” “Talent Supercedes” and “City Rising From the Ashes” are all equally enjoyable in their own radical ways, the track that really stands out from the rest is the last one, “Do You Remember.”

Jamie Cullum’s eerie chorus on “Do You Remember” burrows into one’s brain like an earworm, carving out a nest to lay its eggs to keep one remembering that song for the next few days.

While it is uncertain if Deltron Zero and the Automator will return for a third album, one hopes it will be sooner than 2026—another 13 years.

The brilliant imagination that the Funky Homosapien brings to this world is astonishing and screams to be adapted into a comic book, animated show, or whatever other kind of visual medium that’s available.

However, if all that ever comes of it is another album, fans will have no problem with that, for the storytelling is truly addicting.

Deltron Zero is our hero; if he can’t do it, then nobody can.