Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-02-28

2012-02-28

Homeboy Sandman: The Good Sun (High Water Music, 2010) He's a believer--once withdrew from a freestyling contest rather than rhyme to a gunshot beat. He's a vegan who forswears cursewords and caffeine although not reefer, brags about how poor he is, and is avowedly "not pop." But he's no ascetic. His songs come equipped with brief melodic hooks, his rapid rhymes brim with delight, and from gravelly to singsong his flow is always ready for whatever comes next. Sandman has heard the insult knuckleheads aim at every rapper who makes them feel guilty: "Maybe you think I'm whinin' like BeBe and CeCe." But he knows he rhymes for love and for the fun of it, and so will you. A-

Homeboy Sandman: Subject: Matter (Stones Throw download EP, 2012) He says this EP's subjects matter because no other hip-hopper has touched them, and except for the opener about his creative process, he's got a right, as in the one about his material possessions thatincludes his sock drawer. His beats stick, and even when he's merely rhyming there's a musicality there: "Carpe diem/As a.m. turn to the p.m./The zone I be in/Muy bien." From the grounded erotic obsession of "Unforgettable" to the down-in-the-flood nightmares of "Soap," he's got a vision. And nowhere is his subject matter more materialistic--philosophically, and maybe even dialectically--than in "Canned Goods": "Other food spoils much quicker/The spoils go to the victors." A-

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