My first exposure to Queens, NY emcee Homeboy Sandman was back in 2011, when he opened for CunninLynguists in Washington, D.C. during the group’s Oneirology tour. Since then, he’s released several albums across many indie hip-hop labels, from Stones Throw to Rhymesayers. His latest release, “Rich”, is entirely produced by Mono En Stereo. His style is melding complex rhymes together with near-impossible ease, and which he attempts on “Rich.” The production is as varied as the lyrical topics, but sometimes the manner by which said topics are conveyed can be a little grating. But confined to eleven tracks, the listening experience wasn’t that bad.

Starting with “Fine”, with production consisting of marching band snares and gospel crooning, Sand makes use of the time he has to rap sixteen bars and attempt to sing before the less-than-two minutes timer goes off. For “Bop”, he employs a particularly monotone flow during his verses which could’ve benefitted from some kind of a hook, be it rapped or even a DJ scratching in vocal samples. However, the vibe changes once we arrive at “Therapy”, which is too short to be an album single, but occupies that role nonetheless. Giving his thoughts on the current state of hip-hop within ninety seconds, Sand lets loose like a patient on Sigmund Freud’s couch:



Mono’s production takes a slowed-down and chill party turn on “Biology”, where Sand makes use of several biological terms as wordplay and extended metaphors. For example, “Seasoned public speaker / Know vas deferens from urethra / Eureka & nipples from areola / that’s why I’m the apple in eye of every rap promoter.” There’s a Blaxploitation-style beat on “Then We Broke Up”, which details in almost tongue-in-cheek fashion Sand breaking up with a girl from what appeared to be a fun relationship. The second single, “Off the Rip”, is a cheesy meditation on a happy life, accentuated by its “Ozzie and Harriet”-like musical backdrop:



On “Nevermind”, Sand raps stream-of-consciousness over production that relies on a loop to maintain interest with no change-ups, though lines like “Attention while I check under the hood / True expression is more important than being understood” have thought-provoking elements. The same method is utilized on “Loner”, but with a looped guitar sample instead to provide musical context to Sand explaining his habits to a departed lover. “Crazy” is driven by a woodwind sample, but actually has snares and hi-hats which makes it the most intriguing part of the production, and this far into the album, at that. Lyrically, Sand acknowledges those who’ve deemed him crazy for going against type.

Finally, the last two tracks to close out the album are “He Didn’t Do Anything” and “Who Are You?, the former being a jazz sample with both a looped piano riff and bass line. On the latter, the jazz production continues, but with Sand delivering a chopped-up verse. The word “rich” can be defined as “plentiful and abundant.” However, considering the significant dearth evident by the end, Homeboy Sandman’s album of the same name falls short of it.


Homeboy Sandman :: Rich
6Overall Score
Reader Rating 3 Votes