From the Black Hippy crew to the folks in the A$AP Mob, the 2010-2014 seasons of hip-hop have been graced with plenty of able artists who mix the traditional and the progressive, all of them hitting hard like Mobb Deep was their mom and dad while squandering none of the artful touches artists such as Nas, Talib Kweli, and the folks on the Stones Throw roster have added to the genre. Speaking of the Throw, Homeboy Sandman's second full-length album for the label comes on strong with the busy modern classical composition-fueled "1,2,3," featuring DJ Spinna on production. "Got heads turnin' like 'who he'/Streets don't want him around, he too deep/The deep don't want him around, he too street" says Homeboy, describing himself and his ilk, but it's "This ain't about the payroll people, I got peace" that separates him from the smart and sullen competition. Rapid and vibrant with Homeboy MCing, and sometimes singing, Hallways takes the crafted and clever spirit of his first album hit "Not Really" and expands its street-branded lightheartedness into an album, letting the Sandman attack this letdown of a world with lyrics like "Seems like motherfuckers so afraid of life, so afraid of being wrong, so afraid of being right/I'm concerned with livin' life greater, fuck it if I'm wrong, I'll correct the shit later." Sandman worries that liking indie movies makes him a "hipster" during the loose "Problems," while delicate beats tinkle in the background acting as fragile as these meaningless worries, but the thumping beats behind "Grand Pupa" point to the rapper's realization that "Gotta get rid of my mommy issues" might be more important. Wise beyond his years and fly as well, Homeboy Sandman's biggest attractor is still his pride, a quality that's even more up-front as his career matures. Hallways beams with it, making it one of those rare rap records where true talk meets the warm fuzzies, or the warm motherfuzzies, as it were.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries