HOMEBOY SANDMAN – Kindness For Weakness (Stones Throw): Okay, sure. There are no knockout tracks like the irresistible “Watchu Want from Me?” or the powerful political diatribe “America, the Beautiful,” but this is track-for-track Angel Del Villar’s most consistent compilation, bolstered by a sense of peace he’s been approaching for years. “If it ain’t sunny I don’t spaz / If it ain’t funny I don’t laugh,” he serenely states on opener “Heart Sings.” That peace is in large part fueled by the maxim he casually kicks around on the final track: “Speak Truth.” So committed is Sandman to that principle that he admits on “Sly Fox” to not being able to get it up when faced with the moment of truth with a chick he’s been digging for eight years. So dedicated to that code is he that on “God” he gives a candid rundown of his belief system.
Even in his frustrations he has the cool control of a Buddhist monk, and the closest he ever gets to being worked-up is on “Talking (Bleep),” where he recounts the everyday bullshit absentminded people throw his way, blowing them off by dismissing their comments as nothing more than the sound of a skronky horn worming its way over the trippy time signature of what could easily be a James Brown rhythm, replete with a 50s sci-fi flick laser riff. It’s moments like this that reaffirm this is still the humorous Homeboy of old, offering his peculiar insights on the political (“I got light brown privilege / Not as good as the white one”) with the philosophical (“The glass isn’t half empty or half full / It’s all drink”).
Perhaps it’s because he’s so composed that the record never once feels like it’s being jerked in different stylistic directions despite the slew of producers, a quality that didn’t necessarily detract from the pleasure of earlier albums, but clearly felt like they had been cobbled together from various sources. Homeboy feels the beats and molds his rhymes inside them. This is the brighter side of the dark shaman who gave us “Illuminati.” This is the no-bullshitter who’ll tell us about the “Real New York.” This is Homeboy Sandman in his prime. Get it while you can. A MINUS
Homeboy Sandman – Hallways (Stones Throw ’14): A MINUS
Homeboy Sandman – White Sands (Stones Throw EP ’14): B PLUS (*)
Homeboy Sandman – All That I Hold Dear (Stones Throw EP ’13): A MINUS
Homeboy Sandman – Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent (Stones Throw EP ’13): A MINUS
Homeboy Sandman – First of a Living Breed (Stones Throw ’12): A MINUS