Two releases (and more to come?) this year from Brooklyn hip-hop artist, both solid efforts. I duly enjoyed First of a Living Breed, one of the finer albums I heard last year, and he’s now doing a series of EPs where the work is produced by one dude start to finish. Hope he keeps dropping these near-30-minute exercises that are nice midday snacks and often go well played back-to-back.
HOMEBOY SANDMAN – All That I Hold Dear (Stones Throw EP): Second in a series showcasing HS with different producers. Tennessee-bred M Slago at the production helm providing loops better befitted to HS’s delivery and subjects than Kool Herc; still vocal and instrumental samples of soul, though lower key and less pronounced. Here he lays his lyrics heavily: “Relapse” is something akin to a love song, opener finds him dropping highly humorous self-appointed accolades, “Musician” issues the much-needed critique of those excluding hip-hop artists from that realm: “No disrespect to Bob Dylan / But show respect for Madvillain.” Preferable to Kool Herc. A MINUS
HOMEBOY SANDMAN – Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent (Stones Throw EP): Sample-heavy EP that retains his free verse delivery and affinity for rhyme. Homage to hip-hop’s early days, named after DJ Kool Herc in his honor and produced by El RNTC. Rhythms have a lot of horns, 60’s swagger and vintage feel. Scattered set of subject matter: masses vs. masters, common people sharing common love, braggadocio about his free wardrobe. Spins the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” into a diatribe of how the famous are the lonely people, though I’m not down with his contempt for the general population; those lonely people aren’t as unaware of the universe as he’d like to think. A MINUS