Stylistically, Deep Dickollective’s 2001 debut album, the aptly titled BourgieBohoPostPomoAfroHomo, was more highfalutin and formidable than most of your college course readers. After all, why use a simple word when a long-ass complicated phrase will do? Most phrases in BourgieBoho bear at least two references to post-colonial theory. Yet where other groups have run aground with baroque prissiness and intellectual gobbledygook — remember how you cringed when Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy started rapping about the sexual politics of meat? — DDC has always pulled off its overintellectualism. In fact, once you hear Protonegroes, you’ll realize that pomo-homo hip-hop, like post-colonial theory, is actually kinda sexy.
Much has happened to this Bay Area quartet in the years since BourgieBoho. MC Tim’m West began tapping into his Arkansas churchboy past. Juba Kalamka forayed into porn, recently starring in Good Vibrations’ instructional flick G Marks the Spot. JB performed guerrilla theater with the group Naked Souls. DDC also has a new recruit, the über-crushworthy transgender MC Marcus Rene Van, though you may know him as the LL Cool J-inspired drag king Smooth Dogg.
Ergo, Protonegroes. For those who liked the first album, this new one trades some of the sissy/knucklehead/brainiac stuff for more hooky, funk-driven, and occasionally churchy-sounding songs — on that tip, the best track is “Dock of the Lake,” an Otis Redding redux and paean to Oakland’s own Lake Merritt. At heart, though, the members of DDC will always be snarky queerboys. To remind us, they sing a fabulous gay men’s chorus-y refrain in “Protonegroestheme,” which begins: “We are famous proto negroes/Mission hipsters come to our shows/Liberals, lefties step to our flows/So well-spoken, so safe to know.” After three years in the rap game, these MCs are still spoofing queerness as much as they’re celebrating it.