Review : Homeboy Sandman - Subject Matter
Hip Hop DXIn the evolution of Homeboy Sandman, 2010 witnessed the Queens, New York emcee ascend from a must-see local live act to a proven studio artist with breakaway album, The Good Sun. A perfectionist with intricate globally-reactive songwriting, the last year saw limited material from HBS. However after inking a deal with independent Hip Hop mainstay Stones Throw Records, the AOK member snuck out a digital/vinyl EP in Subject:Matter that alludes to evolving sounds with his remarkable signature writing style.
Subject:Matter is about new elements in the Rap conversation. Giving himself a framework of talking about the untouched, Homeboy Sandman achieves his goal with an effortless-seeming ability. Moreover, HBS keeps one foot in the magic of The Good Sun, and through a new attitude and new sounds alludes to the direction he's heading in with his next full-length. For anybody who's ever considered Rap cliche or walked away believing all has possibly been said, this is one emcee whose writing and candor is trailblazing the conversation....full text
PitchforkEast meets west on Subject: Matter, Sandman's debut EP for the label of Madlib and Dâm-Funk. To accompany the introduction, Sandman added a subtext to his six-song collection, noting on its cover that they encompass content that "no one has ever rapped about before in the history of rap music. Unfortunately not a very difficult thing to do." Sandman is as Queens as the Unisphere, and his braggadocio bears a boldness that suggests that he grew up in the Bridge not Elmhurst. It's probably unnecessary arrogant, but it also reflects a welcome sign of ambition. Few deducted points from Lil Wayne for boasting that he was the greatest rapper alive (even if 49 percent of the electorate disagreed). Nor should they blame Sandman much for his myopic history.
With a healthy number of his peers engaged in shoving rap onto strange terrain, Sandman is another vivid character adding to the expansion. Subject: Matter might be Sandman's best work yet, but more importantly, it's a salient reminder that a song's only perimeter is the limits of human imagination....full text
Planet IllThis six song EP is his Stone’s Throw debut, stepping up the indie ladder. Subject Matter is a work that is lyrically masterful, well-plotted and genuine in feel. It’s the perfect jumping point to get down with the Sandman. Whatever minor points it lacks in explosiveness and drama are compensated for in fluidity, consistency and execution.
His off-kilter delivery and poly-rhythmic flows, along with his varied subject matter make the former school teacher standout from a crowded field so it’s only fitting that he name his latest work Subject MatterSandman skips the intro and the build on the opening track “Middle” rhyming as soon as the beat starts. The beat is subtle, constantly refreshed with ambient Stevie Wonder type noises and intermittent piano work. There is no room for a chorus and the Sanman wastes no bars. One of my few criticisms with Homeboy Sandman was his vocal inflection or lack thereof. He addresses that with many shifts in mood and expression....full text
Rolling StoneMany things you hear and you see/Are not what they appear to be,” says Queens rapper Homeboy Sandman on his new EP. It could be his motto. He’s a musical trompe l’oeil artist: His beats build up steam, then take hairpin turns into abstraction; his rhymes start out as straight forward boasts and veer into politics ("Illuminati"), linguistics ("Cops Get Scared of Me") and feeding the needy ("Canned Goods"). It’s the kind of shtick that can get precious, but unlike many left-field rappers, Sandman's eccentricity feels unforced. And he has a skill for wordplay that keeps you hooked: "Cats ain't out the woods and tryin' be all stud/Kinda like they Tiger Woods, but they can't putt.
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