In a genre where listeners are almost never sure whether the artist’s lyrics truly reflect their life, people can always expect a dose of realness from Stone Throw Record’s Homeboy Sandman. The prolific New York rapper joined the prestigious record label in 2011 after two critically acclaimed releases, Actual Factual Pterodactyl (2008) and The Good Sun (2010). Sandman now adds First Of A Living Breed to his increasingly impressive discography.
Sandman stays true to his style and expertly flows atop unconventional beats throughout the project. He’s exceptional at matching the ambiance of a beat with his rhyme scheme, which helps create cohesive sounding tracks.
As a result, it’s often easy to get lost in Sandman’s voice and completely disregard his deep lyrical potency. On the second track, “Watchu Want From Me?,” Sandman pulls out a catchy flow from his arsenal while covering many issues ranging from clingy women, his disdain for politicians and even the state of hip hop.
Sandman follows that up with a heartfelt love song called “Couple Bars (Honey, Sugar, Darling, Sweetie, Baby, Boo)” with utterly reflective lyrics: “That’d be the most wonderful destiny ever/ only possibility possibly better than being a stitch on your sweater is being human and me and you together.”
Love and hip hop often mix in displeasing ways, but Homeboy Sandman hits the nail right on the head. His genuine personality also shows on “Not Really,” where he calmly describes how his life has barely changed since starting his rap career. Sandman also supplies some serious head bangers like “Mine all Mine” and “Sputnik.”
The album is not without some slip-ups, however. The synth loop as well as the giggling baby sample on “For the Kids” gets frustrating quickly despite the song’s great message. Homeboy Sandman follows that with the questionable “Cedar and Sedgwick,” which features a goofy instrumental and confusing vocals that leave the listener wondering what they just listened to.
But because of Living Breed, Homeboy Sandman is a refreshing breath of fresh air. He is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of hip hop in his own way. After dropping such successful projects, it was difficult to believe whether Sandman would be able to once again deliver, but this album proves that he will continue to provide his fans with quality material for as long as he has the mic in his hands.