Yesterday, Homeboy Sandman released a new single via Stones Throw featuring labelmate Jonti, titled “Brown.” The creativity within the track and the originality that Homeboy Sandman brings to the table had us at Mass Appeal reminiscing on the Queens-bred emcee’s early career, and the evolution of his rhyming, as well as his overall image: including beat selection, video content, and overall branding. It seems that Homeboy has always been quite the abstract emcee but his overall package has been constantly evolving. Whether this evolution is due to his own work ethic and practice, his collaborators on projects like The Good Sun, or his recent signing to Stones Throw; he has definitely made an obvious transformation from raw talent to a polished abstract emcee shining light on a never-before-seen style of rhyming. To demonstrate his evolution from his days of guerrilla advertising on NYC subways and selling tapes personally at Fat Beats, to being under the direction of one of the most quality conscious labels, we figured we outline his where he’s come from and where he’s going.
Homeboy Sandman first caught my eyes in 2007 when he released this raw footage for his song, “Verbal Soul Clap.” The video demonstrates the raw talent he possess as an emcee. If someone rolled up to him and asked him to rhyme on the spot, he’s ready. Save your beats. Matter of fact, who can rhyme polysyllabic words, and simultaneously clap their melody? It’s kind of like patting your head with one hand, and rubbing your food box while reciting “Old Mac Donald.” Think about that complexity the next time you recite your favorite rapper’s hashtag punchline.
Here we see a video from Homeboy Sandman’s project Actual Factual Pterodactyl. The video once again shines light on his abstract rhyme style, but you can see a difference in the creativity of the video. He seemed to have an extremely original idea but due to his status at the time, he was willing to use what resources available and make a video on his terms. Why wait to produce some super-polished video and sacrifice sitting on a great idea? He’s a rapper showcasing enormous potential. Just look past the lo-fi video.
2010’s The Good Sun seems to have been the first time Homeboy Sandman really brought the whole package to the table. From working with producers such as Ski Beatz, DJ Spinna, Psycho Les, and others, he looks like mastered the sound he intended to create. His video content also progressed within his hiatus between projects, which is evident in his video for “Calm Tornado.”
The final period of evolution came with his signing to Stones Throw. The outlet that’s known for going against the grain while producing high quality art, including videos, album packaging, and music. The label is a perfect fit for the emcee who was still trying to perfect his vision. Since he’s been on the label, he’s released two EPs, along with finishing an LP that is set for release in the next few months. His work with Stones Throw has molded him into a brand known for originality. The video for “The Miracle” as well as his new single with Jonti brings us to the next level.
Keep supporting Homeboy Sandman by looking out for his LP First of a Living Bread set to release sometime within the next few months, coinciding with his upcoming US tour with Brother Ali. You can always expect something different from the Queens emcee who seems to take pride in constantly keeping fans on their feet.