Homeboy Sandman

First of a Living Breed

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Quick like Yelawolf or MGK but literate, articulate, and eclectic enough to deserve a spot on the Stones Throw roster, First of a Living Breed is Homeboy Sandman's great entrance, following up two solid street releases and brimming with that "everything in the right place" energy. "Rain" crackles with the power of any given Eminem intro, but producer Jonwayne provides an oddly attractive loop on the cut, while Homeboy looks at his role and history in the rap game from a fresh perspective, because "The rains isn't stuck on the way that it drops." With "the waves gonna welcome the rain," he proves himself to be centered, self-aware, and surprisingly humble for an MC, a quality that makes his shrug-off of fame "Not Really" ("I meet a lot more women, still havin' the same amount of sex/Still a major shortage of cool ones, probably even less") sound like a warm one-on-one with just bit of snide and Shady attitude. The outstanding "Watchu' Want from Me?" proves he knows the power of a hook, the Oh No-produced title track is clever street swagger of the highest order ("People tell me I shouldn't burn bridges before/But why I need a bridge to where I don't want to go?"), while the Daisy Age-ish "Couple Bars" strolls through the worlds of De La Soul and Digable Planets, cracking jokes with jazz quotes ("I've got you under my skin/But it's nuthin' fungal") while the J57-produced backing track lifts the listener up and away. The producer/rapper relationship is symbiotic throughout as rthentic RTNC heightens the tension for the violent talk-down called "Eclipsed," while Howard Lloyd remembers all of what made early Dan the Automator so great, providing a perfect low-budget vision of the future for Homeboy's ride on "Sputnik." It's an amazing, cool, and filling mix, and with Homeboy himself being that right mix of persuasive and challenging, First of a Living Breed is an easy recommendation for any lyric-loving hip-hop head.

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