Release Date: Sep 18, 2012
Record label: Stones Throw
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Underground Rap
It’s impressive what Homeboy Sandman has compiled over the past half decade. He’s built a super solid reputation without conforming to the music industry’s rules of engagement. He’ll release songs with no hooks, deliver three verses in the short attention span era, rhyme about societal ills without pause, paying no mind to a radio format. In a sense, he’s an Original’s original.
Quick like Yelawolf or MGK but literate, articulate, and eclectic enough to deserve a spot on the Stones Throw roster, First of a Living Breed is Homeboy Sandman's great entrance, following up two solid street releases and brimming with that "everything in the right place" energy. "Rain" crackles with the power of any given Eminem intro, but producer Jonwayne provides an oddly attractive loop on the cut, while Homeboy looks at his role and history in the rap game from a fresh perspective, because "The rains isn't stuck on the way that it drops. " With "the waves gonna welcome the rain," he proves himself to be centered, self-aware, and surprisingly humble for an MC, a quality that makes his shrug-off of fame "Not Really" ("I meet a lot more women, still havin' the same amount of sex/Still a major shortage of cool ones, probably even less") sound like a warm one-on-one with just bit of snide and Shady attitude.
Dropping knowledge is good. Pedantry, lecturing listeners and telling them what to think is bad. Those poles make up two sides bisected by a thin line, which Homeboy Sandman straddles for the entirety of his first LP with Stones Throw, First of a Living Breed. Sand is one of the best pure lyricists around, and Stones Throw seems like a natural fit.
As a former high school teacher, it’s always been hard for Homeboy Sandman to avoid tipping his hat towards Boogie Down Productions’ Edutainment. It’s a difficult goal to argue with; after all, even 22 years later it’s hard to point to another album that balances entertainment with teaching so expertly. Homeboy Sandman hasn’t always made the task so explicitly as he does here, however, and the unfortunate result is that this former MTV Made coach may be putting on a bit of a lyrical clinic but he’s not doing much for the art of rap as an entertainment platform.
New York MC offers colourful dissections of his immediate surroundings. Marcus J. Moore 2012. Homeboy 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..