A classic latin saying goes, “Sub sole nihil novi est.” This roughly translates to “there is nothing new under under the sun,” and truly captures the redundancy of any supposedly new idea or thought created by humans. This relates to Homeboy Sandman’s latest project, “Subject: Matter,” in which he purportedly found six fresh topics to rhyme about.
A cocky yet valiant effort indeed, but not one anybody can truly cosign. I’m pretty sure a thorough dig through the prolific ruins of the Golden Age of Hip Hop will result in albums worth of content relating to each song. However, Sandman’s own unique skills help this EP considerably.
A couple seconds after the beat begins to roll, Sandman begins to impress, no useless ad-libs to waste time. His rhymes on “The Miracle” are tight and lean, arriving in bursts long enough to slightly think them over before a next one interrupts cognition. His slacker flow sounds great and contradicts the aptitude of his words, similar to Kool AD from Das Racist.
That track rightly sets off the album as a fulfilled objective, an experiment that not only succeeds in creativity, but also at the bare composition of beats and rhymes. Such criteria also applies to the following track, “Mine All Mine,” although hearing a dude rap about socks and TV does wear off quite fast. The third song, “Unforgettable,” is completely against the EP’s standards and is oxymoronic at that.
Songs about carnal relationships had become the bread-and-butter of rap way before Too Short started his career. It completely flies in the face of what Sandman wanted to do and sours the experience not because sex songs are an old concept, but because they tickle the primal part of a man in a way that forces approval.
Judgment should not be cast the rapper, though, as the song still operates at a good quality. “Subject: Matter”’s latter half does not pack as much punch as the first due to his sexual detour. And even though “Canned Goods,” in which Sandman retells the decline of American society pinpointed by non-perishables, holds at least the most creativity on this album, it does not captivate or wow the listener in an entirely new way. Props to the Queens native for actually creating rap with a purpose in hand, but beyond the nice rhymes and cool beats, “sub sole nihil novi est.”