Homeboy Sandman – The Good Sun
High Water Music: 2010
Purchase on Amazon
Here’s a question: What’s driving hip-hop these days? It sure isn’t those dudes pedaling their half-assed mixtapes, name dropping at every chance they get. It’s not the artists who are still stuck in the 1990s, listing off all the typical sucker-emcee disses. The artists driving hip-hop today are progressive; they have soul and purpose. Most importantly, they have originality – that certain X-factor that differentiates them from the endless crowd of passé emcees and producers who clog e-mail inboxes. Enter Homeboy Sandman.
The Queens rapper has been working the circuit alongside underground legends for years, and with his debut full-length, The Good Sun, Homeboy Sandman is poised to finally step into the limelight. Right out of the gates, Homeboy makes his intentions clear. “This is not pop” is not just a hook, it’s an affirmative chant – a declaration that the music here really is operating above the industry par. Homeboy is an intellectual in every sense of the word. He accurately analyzes society at all its levels, from rabid social media and internet freeloaders to those who jeopardize artistic integrity. On “Mean Mug”, Homeboy even offers a lighthearted moment to those who insist on ‘hardness’ as a way of life.
Not only is Homeboy talented with words, but the music is delightfully enjoyable as well. He swerves with ease between vicious double-time bars and soft, sing-songy musings. Not only does this make the listen more engaging by slashing any chances of monotony, but it also paces the album as Homeboy adjusts to the mood of each track accordingly. The production, courtesy of M Slago, 2 Hungry Bros, Ski Beatz, Core Rhythm and more, offers a pleasant variety of accessible melodies, tricky drum loops, and standard boom-bap that recalls (but doesn’t imitate) the Native Tongues era.
Perhaps the best part of this album is that it goes out with a bang – four times over. The final four tracks on this album are undoubtedly some of the finest hip-hop of the year. “The Things They Carried” features guest appearances from Daniel Joseph and John Robinson, and carries along a narrative similar to that of the book it’s named after. The emcees pick whatever objects are in their pockets, and say what the objects mean about them and their lives. It’s so simple, yet innovative. Not to be outdone, the following “Calm Tornado” sees Homeboy spitting with a conversational tone that somehow screams brilliance. After 14 jam-packed songs, the key to The Good Sun’s success is clear: Homeboy refuses to settle for the ordinary. Rappers take note.