With his new album dropping on pioneering Hip Hop label "Stones Throw",
we caught up with probably the most refreshingly open and honest lyricist in the game today "Homeboy Sandman".
We had a chat about his new album, his thoughts on London and New York and his exercise routine (!?!)
He also gives us Juno Download Hip Hop top Ten and is offering up new single from the album
"America, the beautiful" for absolutely free!
For those uninitiated with Homeboy Sandman can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I'm a huge Billy Joel fan and I dread core work. I'll do a zillion push ups and dips and pull-ups to avoid doing leg lifts or crunches. I'll also go to yoga. I'll do just about anything to avoid core work.
So the new album Hallways is now available. Are you pleased with the finished product?
How would you say this album differs from your previous work?
A bunch of new subject matter. Bunch of new flows. Bunch of new techniques and cadences, bunch of new stories, bunch of new production vibes. Bunch of new shit, same as always.
"Hallways" is your 8th release on Stones Throw. You must have a great working relationship with them. Can you tell us a little about how that hook up came about and your experiences of working with the label over the years?
I love these dudes. These dudes let me put out mad shit. I make mad shit. Jonwayne introduced Peanut Butter Wolf to my music. I love him for that. I love him for other reasons too. I started sending Wolf joints that I was working on with El RTNC, joints that would later become the Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent EP and some of which would be featured on First of a Living Breed and Wolf was feeling em and boom everything was a go. And since I got down they pretty much been like you can put out whatever you want as long as it's butters.
Are you still based in Queens, NY? How is life there?
I looked at a spot in Woodside earlier today that I'd love to get. Nice 1 bedroom fully furnished right by the 7 train at 61st street. It's been like 7 years since I lived in Queens I'd love move back. Right now i live in the lower east side tho and i dig it out here. I still be in Queens all the time tho i love it out there. My mother and father and sister and nephew and niece are there.
I suppose that as a hip hop artist this would have been a very influential place to grow up. Do you think the area helped shape your sound and flow in anyway?
Yeah all the NYC dudes were my heroes. LL, KRS, Slick Rick, Kane, Beatnuts, Tribe, De La, Wu, Pun, Jay, Mos, and all them cats. Plus there was so much music besides hip hop that was big from freestyle to Spanish music so I got to soak in all that flavor too.
Your accent may be similar to a lot of popular rappers; but your flow and lyrical content bear little resemblance to any other “artists” past or present. Was it a conscious decision to shy away from the worn out cliché sounds and topics that are currently blighting the airwaves?
I'm just being myself b.
There are some very exciting producers on the album, can you tell us a bit about them and your experiences of working with them?
Spinna is my hero. Ain't worked with him since The Good Sun so amped to have him back in the mix. Jonwayne is also my hero. He laces me perpetually. Oh No is a genius. 2 Hungry Bros are geniuses and brothers that been down with me since day 1. Knxwledge is a genius can't wait to do more work with him. Jozef Van Wissem and I are cooking up new joints unlike any other rap joints ever put out ever. Put two music lovers who specialize in different genres in the same room and magic is taking place. J57 is a genius and has been lacing me for years with so many big cuts. Then there's new schoolers in there staking the ill claim.
We hear that you spent a short time living in London, what are your thoughts on the City itself and the Hip Hop scene in London?
2nd favorite city in the world. Reminds me a lot of New York. Distinct neighborhoods with unique flavors. Very diverse. Expansive transit system. I dig London very thoroughly.
Are you planning to do any shows in Europe in the near future?
I'll see you all in November.
What can we expect from Homeboy Sandman towards the end of 2014 and moving into 2015?
Butters joints butters joints butters joints c'mon y'all know the drill by now.
We're not quite sure what exactly the title of this fine collection means (gentle music rendered slightly less so through amplification?), but the tagline "selected cuts red-edited and remastered" reveals all. Basically this compilation see Greek producer Mister T take a break from his work with singer Jean Honeymoon to deliver 11 of his favourite rare funk cuts in retweaked form. Highlights include the break-heavy brass jam "Hip Soul", the 70s wah-porn of "Everything Is Wah" and the hyperactive 60s organ wig out "The Surprise".