While many will subject Parallel Uni-Verses to the usual in-depth scrutiny of Del the Funky Homosapien, it's not a fair way to approach this loose, casual album. For one, that would ignore Artifacts member Tame One's equal contribution to this evenly split effort, but first and foremost, Uni-Verses isn't designed to be a game changer. Instead, it's an attractively familiar and nostalgic album, one that brings reminders of the informal collaborations found on early Lyricist Lounge or Def Jux compilations. Instead of sick rhymes, clever punch lines are the thing, with "Selling more units than Moon Zappa" (Tame One on "Before This") and "You simians just simulate" (Del on "Special") being representative of the overall flavor. What makes it all worthwhile is how complementary the aggressive Tame and the laid-back Del are, how fun their strutting and swaggering is, and how funky the tracks feel with Drum and Knowledge from the Parallel Thought crew providing a wide variety of throwback vibes. Punchy bass, jittery scratching, and looped xylophone samples make "Flashback" more than your average homage to hip-hop's golden age, although it's not just the Thought crew who are responsible as these veteran lyricists can go way back and "get nastier than Blowfly." The eerie beats make "The Franchise" a highlight, sounding like they might have melted off the B-side of some old Mo Wax 12," but it's the druggy closer, "Gaining Ground," that really stuns, slinking across the speakers like Pink Floyd and Massive Attack passing spliffs for six minutes. Songs are allowed as much time as they need, but the album as a whole is economical and right-sized at 11 tracks. This is highly enjoyable weekend music from the underground, nothing more, nothing less.
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