Review : Homeboy Sandman - First of a Living Breed
BbcHomeboy Sandman can rap, so much so that he breaks down his cadence for listeners to appreciate his message. It’s not for arrogance’s sake; it’s to savour his authenticity.
But he’s still humble. “I’m still Black Thought’s biggest fan / Just now I can call and tell him so,” Sandman ponders on Not Really, a standout on this LP, his first for Stones Throw. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of law school to pursue a full-time hip hop career.
Born Angel Del Villar II, the Queens MC is a throwback to times when merit was earned with fluid lyrical dexterity. Sandman knows he’s nice, and he’s okay with being that dude. Still, his songs feel more like conversations than actual verses; his cadence is noticeably dissectible, even if you rewind a few times to fully absorb the meanings.
As with any Sandman release, …Living Breed is full of unforgettable rhymes, each one delivered in his own quirky way. And at times he overloads the instrumentals with overwhelming results. On Rain, for instance, Sandman wields an oceanic flow that culminates with a celebratory squeal at song’s end.
On Sputnik, the feel is remarkably old school, and Sandman fills the space with lofty metaphors, referring to pale corpses and zombie porn. He sees himself as the old man from the Dos Equis beer commercials. He equates infidelity to two potheads looking for smoke. These comparisons are certainly absurd, yet they work. Sandman can rap about anything and make it sound intriguing....full text
MassappealHomeboy Sandman is definitely not your average emcee. While his peers’ subject matter usually revolves around money, clothes and hoes, Boy Sand rather spit about topics that are a little more obscure or socially relevant.
Sandman’s Stones Throw Records debut, First Of A Living Breed, drops on Sept. 18 and is packed with the aforementioned diverse topics, complex rhyme patterns, otherworldly flows and top-notch production, making it one of the most original releases of 2012.
Mass Appeal got an exclusive snippet-style preview of the album from Homeboy Sandman himself. In this first installment watch as he gives us samples of seven of the album’s songs while we follow him through the streets of New York. Watch for the part two of our exclusive video preview later this week....full text
UndergroundhiphopFighting is in Homeboy Sandman's blood. As a teen growing up in Queens, he tussled with bouncers; he talks of his struggle to walk the straight and narrow. But winning comes to him just as naturally—his father, a heavyweight boxer who emigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York, never lost a fight. But in the match that would be his last, he watched his defeated opponent's father pick up his son's teeth scattered around the ring. Though unschooled, he did something—left boxing behind and became a community lawyer.
Homeboy's education, then, began early. Clearly his father's son, he's been a coach on MTV's MADE and went to law school before dropping out to become a schoolteacher instead. He emerged onto the hip-hop scene in 2007. By his second album, 2008's Actual Factual Pterodactyl, he was already being touted by XXL as having "sharp lyrics and an irresistibly melodic flow which, together, form an elastic instrument which few MCs can match."
Unlike many, he doesn't shy away from accepting the responsibility of being a role model. He calls his raps his "kids," and only sends the most prepared out into the world. Still, these are not monotonous lectures. As he says, "It's a big hoax that rap [has to be] about anything. It can be about a wardrobe, about plant life. If you're talented you can rap about anything and most of the nonsense in hip-hop actually comes down to a lack of talent."...full text
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