Interview: HOMEBOY SANDMAN
has been bringing you top drawer lyricism in a recorded form since 2007. Spreading his message across the globe at a faster pace recently since signing to Stones Throw last year, he’s already released the well received Subject: Matter EP and Chimera is about to drop, featuring production from Paul White (x2), Exile, J57, Mr Familiar and Navie D. We’re looking forward immensely to his debut LP for the label this summer, First Of A Living Breed.
Groovement’s Agent J fired over some questions in anticipation of his new work, and found the Sandman to be a hella nice guy. Shouts to Jodi for the hook up.
Nourishment EP // 2007 //Boy Sand Industries
Nourishment (Second Helpings) // 2007 // Boy Sand Industries
DJ BabeyDrew Presents Homeboy Sandman: There Is No Spoon // 2008 // Boy Sand Industries
Actual Factual Pterodactyl // 2008 // Boy Sand Industries
The Good Sun // 2010 // Fat Beats / Select-O
Subject: Matter EP // 2012 // Stones Throw
Chimera EP // 2012 // Stones Throw
For those who aren’t familiar – please sum up who Homeboy Sandman is.
Homeboy Sandman is a one of a kind musician.
You’ve grafted hard to get here – your last LP The Good Sun got distributed by Fat Beats and now you’re part of the new Stones Throw generation. How is being where you are now different to say, 5 years ago?
My team is bigger. I have more people in my corner helping me spread my music and my message.
Over here in Manchester there’s a real love for modern hip hop being made with what some might label a ‘golden era’ aesthetic – would you say that’s true worldwide from what you can see? Why is that?
Yes. People associate the golden era with people telling the truth, being unique among other artists, and with music and success being talent based rather than hype based. So whenever people are these things, these very good things, even if they’re hip hop is taking places that they’ve never gone they are still associated with the golden era because they share these positive traits.
The Chimera EP is your next release, can you give us a heads up on it?
A Chimera is an unattainable dream. Yet this EP drops April 10th. The entirety of the EP has a dreamlike feel to it, as far as both production and delivery. A Homeboy Sandman you haven’t heard yet. As usual.
First of a Living Breed is due out in the summer. Is there an overall driving narrative to the LP, or were the tracks written at various stages rather than as part of an album?
The tracks were written at various stages, but there is definitely an overall driving narrative.
Thinking back to your teacher days in Queens (when did you stop teaching? I teach elementary myself…), did you find that teens had quite a positive outlook on their own futures? What did you teach?
I taught high school math and history (and a bit of science and a bit of english). My students had a very pessimistic and defeatist outlook about their future. They were all heavily influenced by the hip hop that is pushed by the people that control the media.
What were their attitudes to hip hop like? Was there a willingness to be open to its history?
They barely knew anything about good music at all. There is always a willingness to learn if what is being taught is of value. I presented them with De La Soul, with Mos Def, and it taught itself. At first they exhibited the standoffishness that ignorance often cultivates, but by the end of the week they were begging to know what I’d be bringing in next week.
“Unfortunately not a difficult thing to do” – Subject Matter, and making sure those lines were on the cover, was very much a statement of intent – does hip hop frustrate you generally? Do you consider it a close minded genre with the exception of only a few?
Bad hip hop frustrates me. Even more so, that people allow bad hip hop to define the genre frustrates me. There are a wealth of hip hop artists that are open minded and gifted. We all need to be ashamed for allowing them to be so effectively censored out.
You’ve collab’d with JonWayne just now and have talked about Fly Lo in the past… is anyone else appealing to you on that tip? And at the same time, has Stones Throw/Now Again etc opened you up to new ideas or sounds?
I’d love to work with DangerMouse. He is amazing. Stones Throw has cultivated an array of new ideas and sounds, just like everything new that I come into contact with.
I read that you played sax when you were younger. Is it something you ever went back to, or did you ever pick up another instrument (apart from your voice…)? If not, is that a regret?
I picked up the horn a few times here and there, to help serenade a lady or two. No regrets. I can always pick it up again if I’m moved to.
New York Nights led off a Stones Throw/Serato collab, and Subject Matter was the first release in the label’s new subscription service. As someone who sold CDs hand to hand, how do you consume music now? If you were starting out next week would you get physical copies pressed up or just use Bandcamp and YouTube?
Hard to say what I’d do if I started out this week. I really don’t know what it would be like to start out this week. I consume new music live mostly.
In keeping with that, are vinyl releases important to you, or just that a release is out there?
Obviously for me the most important thing is the music reaching people, but nothing sounds better than vinyl and it is a blessing to be able to have any release pressed up on wax.
Will we see you back in the UK in 2012? Is touring an appealing thought or a necessary part of a rapper’s remit?
See ya’ll in June. Specific dates coming soon. I like touring. I like seeing new places and meeting new people.
To finish up, please give a nod to something you think we should be listening to right now.
Sene is doing some incredible work right now I know he’s about to be putting out an album called either Brooklynite or BrooklyNight on Plug Research. Soul Khan is a gifted wordsmith. I Am Many’s new album “Strength in Numbers” is a fantastic listen. I’m also a big fan of New Rap Order coming out of Brooklyn. TreZure Empire and Faro Z are world class talents. And of course, Stevie Wonder.
Thanks for your time man!
No doubt homey. Appreciate the opportunity to spread the word. Peace.