Album Review: Sandpeople – Long Story, Short… EP (2009)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Potholes
From the churning Northwest hails a sinister breed of hip hop known as the Sandpeople. The Sandpeople have been on the move with their new release Long Story Short, which contains 9 tracks of cryptic rhythms and memorizing rhymes. Their sound is unique and versatile, but still maintains a common denominator that holds their album Long Story, Short… together stylistically. Upon first hearing the intro track “Strands” I was automatically intrigued by this mysterious cult of emcees. The production is clean and dark, with almost little to no samples. The recording is pristine and the editing on is on point (they must have a great in house engineer). You can tell the emcees spend lots of time together because they trade lines back and forth with fluidity throughout the whole album which could only be accomplished by being in the presence of each other. Their flows are tight and they are as harsh as a 70mph sandstorm whipping in your face. The group dynamics this album is built on is what truly makes the album worthwhile to listen to and is reminiscent of the posses of older 90s hip hop albums such as Wu Tang.
As a recommendation I can say the Sandpeople, while being very good at what they do, are not for everyone. This does not bother me, but it seems like the group could be very hit or miss with listeners. However, the Sandpeople have carved out their own unique niche in hip hop that spans across many boundaries. Their production is clean enough to be mainstream, but their active posse cuts can still appeal underground hip hop fans. Their lyrical topics range from drugs, suicide, money and even to the metaphysical side of life focusing on questions of death. The strangest part of the Sandpeople is the fascinating backup vocals that crop up into their production. These vocals paint vivid imagery of wind combed dunes and even remind me of a Tim Burton soundtrack. On the final track “Dapper Mob” the Sandpeople show their true uniqueness with a twisted anthem that contains only singing and reminds me of Nightmare Before Christmas with its comical harmonies overlayed with morbid imagery.
To pass on the opportunity to hear Long Story, Short… would be depriving yourself of a unique experience in hip hop. The Sandpeople carry the Northwest torch by having consistent, tight production that is common to the region (Blue Scholars, Theory Hazit, Omega Watts, etc), and they also maintain a level of uniqueness which sets themselves apart. The only downfall to this cultic organization is that their lyrics get dry as the desert dunes by continually rhyming about how dope they are. Eventually they move on to different topics on the album, but not until 4 tracks in do they reach a plateau of depth that will satisfy the listener and show the Sandpeople’s full potential.
Stir up the sands, and let the Sandpeople be an oasis to relax by and enjoy a unique experience in hip hop.