Dell-P - We Owe The World
The latest album from Philadelphia Emcee Dell-P brings something that's been increasingly scarce in todays Hip Hop.
Dell-P - We Owe The World
As an (over) 40 year old Hip Hop fan I have grown to have certain expectations for the music I consume. I still enjoy 80's and 90's golden era Hip Hop but I also stay checking for new artists and current albums. The nostalgia alone is often enough reason for me to play a classic album, but what about an artist I never heard of? And what's going to keep me going back after that first listen?
I only discovered Dell-P last year, and though he's not a new artist, his album M.E.G.A. (Make Emceeing Great Again) left a strong impression on me. When I listened I heard a sharp & polished emcee who knows how to put words together and simply make dope songs. Joints like Arrival and Good Jawn were instant favorites.
When I heard Dell-P was dropping a new album this year I knew it would be a different experience as I now had some expectations and anticipation. The first single Here For It, which dropped in May, was a great warm up to the full project We Owe The World which officially dropped on June 19th (Juneteenth). The release date not insignificant. No, the opening bars of Dear Black Man let you know exactly what this is and sets you up for the journey.
"Funny how they neglect the citizens, rather protect businesses and still ain't catching what the issue is. Help me make sense of this, bodies dropping while the colonizers benefit, only right I vent a bit."
The themes of this album are clear: Breakdown and address the issues plaguing his hometown of Philly (with some strong suggestions for solutions), as well as uplifting and celebrating everything & everyone that makes it great. Dell-P is the right emcee to deliver this type of message. After all, he is very active & vocal in his community as a scroll through his Instagram account will reveal.
Every song on We Owe The World serves a purpose. On The Feeling Dell-P challenges the violent trends and messaging in popular Hip Hop while sounding a call to action for emcees to step up and take responsibility. Here For It is a love song for his significant other as well as black women in general; name dropping the likes of Coretta Scott King, Michelle Obama and Nina Simone.
Know Your Worth and Karma are a potent 1, 2 punch of blunt messages & cautionary tales for the youth while avoiding corny, preachy & out of touch bars which often prevent these types of songs from having its intended impact. It's the authenticity that matters here.
While Dell-P holds it down on every track the guests make their presence felt as well. The criminally slept on legend, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers blesses Dell-P with a stand-out thought provoking verse on The Saga, fitting right in with the album's theme.
While We Owe The world is a focused record Dell-P takes his opportunity to flex his lyrical muscle as well. Joints like Get Busy On Em, Barkley and Erving, and Reign Supreme put his skills as an emcee on full display. On Barkley And Erving Dell-P and Philly Legend Tracey Lee trade bars on an All-Star Philly Collab. Dell declares the pairs aspirations on the hook.
"I know this city's cold but it's still the place to be. We're trying to bring it home like the sixers in '83"
While Tray Lee shows he's still a master at clever wordplay:
"...Meet T.L. and Dell, we The Sound Of Philadelphia (TSOP)! Now as you ramble in a Huff, go 'head and Gamble if you must, just understand I run amuck."
The album does have some feel good moments through all the heavy content. 1991 is a dope and nostalgic track where Dell-P speaks on a year that was highly influential for him, from the music (Check The Rhime), the style (Jordan 6's), sports and the overall culture of that period of time. Dollar and a Plan is a motivational anthem that will have you singing along the the catchy hook and bouncy beat. The Philly emcee uses his own experiences as an example and testimony that its possible to accomplish your dreams even in an environment that tells you otherwise.
"Get your popcorn, watch me in Hi-Def. Rocking crowds with AD, ciphers with Wycleff, features from Banner and Money B. This was God's plan it wasn't me, city say I'm The Answer like number 3. Definition of growth, just tryna provide the vibe to give the kids some hope."
Just as Dear Black Man kicked off the album and set the tone, A Village ft. Jay Reezy wraps it all up in a nice bow. While the bonus track is the last song you hear it's obvious why THIS is the album's true closer.
"School the youth, we gotta get 'em while they're young. And know that if you inspire one your job is done."
This joint breaks down more issues & implores The Village to step up and be involved in raising young men and women the right way. While the message is blunt the smooth production and sung hook give you a dose of medicine with a bit of sugar to chase it.
Finally, I would be remiss If I didn't mention Donnie Boy who produced every track on this album aside from the bonus joint. I'm a big fan of one Emcee and one producer albums and this is another example of why. While Donnie gives Dell a variety of beats and shows off his versatility, the album feels cohesive and flows extremely well.
If you haven't heard of Dell-P or have been sleeping this is the perfect album to start with. If you are already familiar with Dell-P's music I dare to say this is his Magnum Opus. As much as I enjoyed his previous album MEGA, Dell has taken his craft to the next level with We Owe The World which is one of my favorite albums so far in 2021.
Check out the Bandcamp and Spotify links below.