We had to delay this feature for a couple weeks, but finally, it is here. I had a chance to sit down with an amazing artist and good friend, Homeboy Sandman, to talk about his latest album, The Good Sun. While there haven’t been too many hip-hop albums in 2010 to get excited about, Sandman dropped an LP that contests that statement. Filled with stellar production and next-level lyricism, if there is only one rap album you purchase this year, make sure it’s The Good Sun. With that said, check out this insightful Q&A session I had with Homeboy Sandman and let us know what you think!
Purchase Homeboy Sandman’s The Good Sun on Amazon.[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Homeboy-Sandman-Yeah-But-I-Can-Rhyme-Though.mp3=titles=”Yeah, But I Can Rhyme Though]
PIMB: What’s up Boy Sand? How have things been with you?
Sandman: Oh my goodness, everything is phenomenal.
PIMB: I want to start things off by extending a major congratulations to you on the upcoming release of your commercial debut, The Good Sun. It’s been a long time coming! How does it feel to finally have things done and ready to go?
Sandman: Feels like winning the World Cup on a goal in extra time in a game that had been scoreless.
PIMB: Ever since you sent me the promotional copy a few weeks back, this album has not left my rotation. It seems like you have restored much of my faith back into hip-hop. Talk about the state of the genre and how you think your album will impact the current climate.
Sandman: Hip-hop music is rich and healthy and strong and on the rise and growing and shining and shimmering and glistening and spreading and I’m happy that my album can contribute to the talent based hip hop music movement, which is currently taking the world by storm and changing the world every day and improving it.
PIMB: We all know Homeboy Sandman has a lot to say. I remember you originally wanted to put together a double album. Did you feel at all restricted by only having one album to work with? How did you manage to get all you wanted to say into a 48-minute LP?
Sandman: I didn’t feel restricted. It was originally going to be a double, but then it was going to be a triple, but then I said to myself, “Self, you’re going to be putting out albums for years and years. Relax, you don’t have to put everything out in the next 5 minutes.”
PIMB: While you end up keeping a very cohesive sound throughout the album, the lyrical content varies greatly. Between lighter tracks like “Mean Mug” and serious songs like “Listen” and “Angles With Dirty Faces”, you keep a great balance. Talk about finding that balance on the album and how you were able to string everything together.
Sandman: Sequencing was an ordeal! I went through like 400 different sequences. But as far as the balance, I’m always writing. All throughout my entire life. My entire life is really me writing with everything else that happens happening in between, like, during breaks. But like the state of being at rest, for me, that’s writing. So I never stop writing because I’m happy, or sad, or tired, or energetic. I’m just always writing, so all the different sides of me wind up coming out naturally. As a person I’m multidimensional, and my music being not at all image based, I don’t ever have to worry about doing something that doesn’t fit. It all fits. It’s all me. And people are now calling that balance. I guess it is balance, but it’s just a lot more of no censorship of myself.
PIMB: One thing I have noticed in your raps is that you have something for just about any type of listener to relate to. Do you keep that in mind while writing a song, or is that just one of the perks that come along with being the Sandman?
Sandman: I think this answer is not the same as the above answer but it’s similar. I have a really difficult time interacting with dishonest people, but other than that i like to build with people. I hear a lot of rappers dissing people in their rap records, this unknown all encompassing “you.” (“You ain’t never been to jail.” “You ain’t never sold crack.” “You can’t rap.” “You’re poor.” “You ain’t a supertough killer gangster thug.”) Me, though, personally, I love building with people who are not like me. Not that those examples I just gave are personal examples from me. I’ve never been to jail or sold crack. I can rap, but I am poor (but not really ’cause i’m alive an healthy so how poor can i really be. Not very poor at all. I guess what I mean to say is I have no money). But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to build with people different from me. What growth comes from only building with people that are just like you? I even feel like I’ve grown from my interactions with dishonest people, which is the only genre of person I can say that i’d really rather avoid. But yeah, my records are for everybody, not just one type of person. A lot of rap records, they’re actually specifically made to create a specific type of person, so that’s why they’re all geared specifically towards the same thing. Not mine.
PIMB: You chose to stick to very few features on the album. With the exception of Fresh Daily, John Robinson and Daniel Joseph, The Good Sun is exclusively Homeboy Sandman. Why did you decide to choose those three emcees? What void were they able to fill?
Sandman: Those are three fabulous emcees and i’m honored to have them all on the album and they all nailed their verses. Fresh is on my last album too, and I’m on his, and he and I together we specialize in high BPM mayhem. And he’s got a unique flavor no one else in the world could duplicate, so I needed a sprinkle of that Fresh seasoning on my record. DJ and JR, they nailed the concept on “The Things They Carried”. I mean nailed it. DJ says, “Two jelly fish, One big bowl.” I mean, that’s brilliant. You got JR carrying around fankensence oil. Who does that? Only JR. So I wanted more brilliance on the record and the point of how you can tell a lot about someone by what they have in their pockets was reinforced by digging in some other pockets besides mine and seeing what was in there.
PIMB: A few months back you were telling me about the process you go through when picking beats. Specifically talking about the song “Table Cloth”, produced by M Slago, you mentioned how that beat really jumped out and grabbed you. Expand on the production selection for The Good Sun and how you were able to narrow it down to the 14 songs you ended up with.
Sandman: These songs all have common threads and common themes including optimism, organics, essence, and emotion in them, and the production all shares that too. Plus, all the beats are slamming enough that you could just listen to them on your own and they’d hold your attention and captivate you and tell a story all on their own. Those are the types of beats I need to rock, because masterful beats and masterful verses make for undeniable product. We already say how even masterful beats and horrible verses often times do well, so masterful beats and masterful verses is the way to trump all that.
PIMB: You included a few bigger names on the production credits like DJ Spinna and Ski Beatz, but for the most part the beats came from some underground veterans and unknown newcomers. Was this intentional, or was it something that just ended up happening while working on the album?
Sandman: These were the best beats I could find. Some came from people already legendary for beats. The others came from cats who will be legendary in the future. It wasn’t intentional. It just happened. The big names are big names because they’ve shown that they can consistently make beats good enough to be on this album. The names not yet as big, if they can continue to make beats of the caliber of the beats they contributed on this album, they will one day be big names.
PIMB: Looking beyond the album release, what does the future hold for Homeboy Sandman?
Sandman: Beautiful music.
PIMB: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! Any closing words for the readers?
Sandman: Peace! Shouts to the Reyn man!