The opening track on Dälek’s Gutter Tactics is anchored by a sample of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 9/11 speech:
“We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to pay back for the attack on our embassy, killed hundreds of hard-working people, mothers and fathers who left home to go that day not knowing that they’d never get back home."
Dälek is not your typical rap group; in fact, they are something completely different altogether. Sure, there are beats and rhymes, but it’s not the sort of music that would pass for hip-hop on MTV or in dance clubs. There are no guest rappers littering every other track. There is no hook while the DJ revolves it. This is not 50 Cent pretending to be a thug.
Dälek’s closest relatives in the mainstream rap world are Public Enemy. But where PE looped the most abrasive funk samples they could find, Dälek take their cue from My Bloody Valentine and John Cage.
For 10 years, Dälek has been releasing albums that challenge both the hip-hop culture and society at large. Gutter Tactics attacks with a vengeance. The beats are simple, but the layers of sound are not. Walls of feedback swirl and loop. Somewhere a Hammond organ drones. It’s impossible to tell what, if anything, Dälek borrowed versus what they produced on their own. One thing is certain: They are disgusted with the current state of world affairs and they make it abundantly clear with tracks like “No Question,” a reminder that we, as a nation, are still being lied to and used by The Man, regardless of what color The Man may be:
“A Black President don’t ensure the sunshine/ A rich President represent his own kind/ As it stand now, the blind lead the blind/ Deconstruct what you fed, formulate, redefine.”
Lyrically, Gutter Tactics tends to read like a history and civics lesson taught by Howard Zinn. Topics like Medgar Evers, the 1921 Tulsa race riots and the 2012 doomsday prophecy all make appearances. MC Dälek also discusses his own inner struggle with being a rapper. Roughneck hip-hop is where he comes from, but on “2012 (The Pillage)” he dreams of being Stiv Bators (of the Dead Boys) but knows that Public Enemy has laid the path for him and his message:
“Wish I sung melodies like a young Stiv/ Forgot that these Flavors is why we all live!”
Gutter Tactics is Dälek’s best work to date. With each album, they evolve and refine their craft. Past works have ranged from overwhelming, beat-driven noise to hypnotic drones and even a collaboration with German krautrock pioneers Faust. Gutter Tactics is an amalgamation of all of this and more. It is relentless and intelligently urgent; which is refreshing for a rap album — if that’s what you’d call this. (Ipecac)
Dälek on the web: deadverse.com/