Homeboy Sandman // In Short

Homeboy 1

Throw hip hop heads Raekwon, Cannibal Ox, Nas and Jurassic 5’s Akil in a blender. Mix thoroughly. Pour into a chilled glass and stir. Add an umbrella. And voila! Your deadly rhyming cocktail, the New York City MC Homeboy Sandman, is ready to serve.

Raised in Queens, Homeboy’s done academic stints in New Hampshire, Philadelphia, London and Long Island. He fell one semester short of finishing two different graduate degrees, with a couple of years of NYC public school teaching inbetween, working with 14 and 15 year olds. Oh, and some bartending too, at the legendary Lennox Lounge in Harlem, where Shaft used to drink. And then the calendar hit March 2007 and he cut his debut EP, Nourishment.

Because the 33-year-old rapper – better known to his mum as Angel Del Villar II – knows what it is to be a proper MC. He’s as pure a lyricist as you’ll hear these days and thankfully returns a bit of menace and swagger to the world of the New York City rap, without the related nonsensical braggadocio. But don’t take my word for it. Just slap on his new Stones Throw album Hallways and marvel at his spitting and speed on the DJ Spinna-produced opener 1,2,3 as it hits boom-bap warp speed.

And then there’s the Jonwayne-enabled ‘America, The Beautiful. Recorded long before the battleground of Ferguson, Missouri, erupted onto the world’s screens, the joint is a downcast slice of life imagining American the Utopia – with dreams of jobs, health care, public services and a bright future. One day, he raps: “It’s all awesome and it’s all sense.” The bittersweet silver lining is Homeboy’s assertion that despite its faults, America is still The Beautiful.

When he’s not twisting tongues and turning heads, he writes regularly for The Huffington Post, some for Gawker. While most of his writing is about music, he’s not picky. If he had an opportunity to give a speech at a huge rally he’d take that too, he tells us. Maybe he just wants attention? Attention for being himself, though. Now pay attention to his buttery answers…

If I had to describe my music in 3 words, I’d use…
Promulgator of obscure butters. (The word ‘of’ doesn’t count as it’s only two letters it’s not even regularly considered when constructing acronyms. So there.)

My favourite film ever is…
The Matrix

The most famous person I’ve met is…
Kool Herc (even if people don’t know his name, they know his work, even if they don’t know they do…)

The song I hate the most is…
That one that sounds like all those other ones.

The worst job I’ve ever had is…
I interned for a summer at Lehman Brothers when I was a teenager. I had to wear a collared shirt and sit at a cubicle. It was a nightmare. Plus Lehman Brothers is the devil.

If I was in a tribute band it would be…
The Jackson 5. I’d be Michael of course.

My favourite word is…
Butters

If I had a super power I’d want it to be…
I could eat mad junk food but my body would still read it as mad nutritious.

If I could play a gig anywhere it would be…
Queens Center Mall

I think you should listen to…
“Ai No Corrida” by Quincy Jones

If I could see anyone play live it would be…
John Coltrane

——–

Buy: Homeboy Sandman – Hallways

Live: KOKO – November 15th (with Gilles Peterson, Flako, Dorian Concept, Diggs Duke)