The Delfonics is the quintessential sweet-soul group formed in the mid-’60s, lead by vocalist and songwriter William Hart. Between 1968 and 1974, they had twenty charting singles and won a Grammy for their hit “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” Out of those 20 hits, William Hart wrote or cowrote eighteen of those, with thirteen written with collaborator Thom Bell: “La-La Means I Love You,” “He Don’t Really Love You,” and “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).”
Most recently Hart has collaborated with Younge on what was envisioned as a modern-day Delfonics album. Skillfully writing his vocals around Younge’s drum-heavy productions, Hart’s poignant songwriting has remained a constant. “I write songs for everybody to enjoy,” he says. “Your Grandmother can listen to it, your children can listen to it, and this is the way you should think when you’re writing.”
“The Delfonics represents that classic soul era from the ’60s and ’70s that our older generation has grown up listening to,” comments DJ Rhettmatic of the Beat Junkies. “The Delfonics is definitely important,” says A-Plus from legendary Oakland hip-hop crew Souls of Mischief. “They have been heavily sampled by the hip-hop community. Many of us grew up listening to them from our parents.”
While the Delfonics stayed in America’s musical consciousness for generations, getting perpetual spins on oldies stations, the 1990s saw a definitive rediscovery for the Philly group and William Hart in particular. Not only did countless hip-hop producers borrow their riffs for beats, but, in 1996, the Fugees famously interpolated “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love)” for their hit single off the multiplatinum smash record The Score. That same year, William provided guest vocals to Ghostface Killah’s “After the Smoke Is Clear” off his debut album. Things are coming full circle for Hart, whose new Delfonics track “Enemies” was sampled for the upcoming Adrian Younge–produced Ghostface Killah album, Twelve Reasons to Die.
“It means everything to me in my career,” says William Hart of the album. “This is my top moment. Everything to me at this point in my life is showing me that I can do it over and over again, if given the chance. I respect Adrian for seeking me out and Wax Poetics for taking me on, because there are a lot of people that couldn’t see the science we used for this.”
“That guy is a genius,” Younge says of William. “I learned a lot from him. It was just one of the best feelings of my life as far as music is concerned. The first time I heard his voice on one of my songs, I was just totally mesmerized. Because I know his voice so well, so to hear him on something that I created was just crazy.”
“This album that I’ve done with the great Adrian Younge is the beginning of the rest of my life in music,” Hart says. “I just want to carry the legacy of the Delfonics.”
Bio written by Wax Poetics