Homeboy Sandman

Dusty

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On the Mello Music Group-issued 2019 full-length Dusty, Homeboy Sandman reunites with producer Mono en Stereo (previously known as RTNC), who provided beats for some of the rapper's earlier releases for Stones Throw, such as First of a Living Breed and Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent. Constructed from laid-back, ambling jazz and funk grooves, the tracks provide warm, lived-in backdrops for Sandman's distinctive brand of conversational, matter-of-fact rhymes. As ever, the Queens native is particularly gifted at delivering deep, articulate thoughts as well as seemingly tossed-off non sequiturs at a rapid pace, but more often than not he keeps a calm-headed demeanor, and he never sounds scatter-brained or unfocused. "Far Out" darts from a chorus invoking interstellar travel to a reminiscence about childhood Halloween, yet Sandman seems parked in his easy chair. In the spirit of A Tribe Called Quest's "What?," "Wondering Why" proposes a sequence of eternal questions such as "Why do men have nipples?," while "Noteworthy" similarly ponders why people consider apples and oranges to be so different. A few tracks at the album's center focus on sexuality, with "Picture on the Wall" being a witty, compassionate ode to a healthy relationship, and "Pussy" detailing his carnal appetite, but in a respectful, consensual way. The more unhinged "Lookout" boasts guest freestyles from Quelle Chris and Your Old Droog over winding synth-funk, and the three emcees display enough energy and charisma that the track seems like an extended posse cut, when it actually wraps up in less than three minutes. Dusty is another winning set of pointed observations from Sandman, who effortlessly unloads his thoughts without seeming like a burden on the listener.

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