Reporter’s notes: A Funkee stimulus plan

Nick Baker

As I sit here and bang out this column somewhere dangerously near my deadline, I have one major distraction. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, one of my favorite MCs, announced on St. Patrick’s Day from a Red Bull-branded podium that he had a new 13-point stimulus plan to unleash on the American public.

The self-proclaimed “President of Funk” would be giving his new 13-track album “Funk Man” away on the Internet beginning April 7. And then it dropped a week early, and I had to play it through before I could even think about column writing.

“All these squares and jive turkeys up here, trying to jive you out your money, waving it in front of your face like this, just waving it. It’s so funny,” Del said. “Now keep your money, and come get you some funk for free.”

Now I have been waiting for “Funk Man” for about a year, since last spring when his “Eleventh Hour” album dropped. In the liner notes of the album (yes, I read those), listeners were warned to watch out for “Funk Man.”

“These points will help you get through the day with the maximum of funk to fuel you,” Del said during his YouTube stimulus address. “With this extra boost of funk neurons you will be able to take all that these turkeys and jive bozos can possibly give. See the results in front of your eyes, as the hate juice they sip on quickly evaporates.”

While it may not be the all-encompassing answer to our economic woes, giving away a full album of new material certainly is a nice gesture, one that was most famously made by Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” in 2007.

Since then, Nine Inch Nails released volume one of their four-volume “Ghosts” for free, and volumes I-IV together for only $5. Prince gave his album “Planet Earth” away in Sunday newspapers.

It is a unique method and a far cry from that of Wal-Mart, who had exclusive album deals with the Eagles, Journey and AC/DC.

“These are bands that have lots of loyalty with our customers,” said Greg Hall, Wal-Mart’s VP of entertainment. “We look at . how does the brand translate to other merchandise-like apparel?”

Guns N’ Roses released the 15-years-too-late “Chinese Democracy” exclusively through Best Buy. Even Wu-Tang Clan released a special edition of “8 Diagrams” last winter that had a different cover (which I liked more) and a bonus track (that wasn’t that great), making me wake up at 9 a.m. so I could drive to Best Buy before class.

This idea represents an entirely different stimulus plan. Stores getting me to go out of my way to shop there or to leave with something I didn’t expect to leave with makes music just another marketing tool.

As a Del fan, I appreciate the free album. I appreciate the music in general. But even he announced the free album drop with prominent Red Bull logos around him.

But hell, whatever is good for the economy, right?

Contact all correspondent Nick Baker at [email protected].