Homeboy Sandman – First of a Living Breed
Homeboy Sandman's liquid flow and intelligent lyrics make him a perfect fit for Stones Throw, and tracks like the soul-inflected Whatchu Want From Me? and the wonky digital four-four of opener Rain have an infectious, immediate appeal which is sustained through headphone-based close listening and dancefloor rug-cutting. He namechecks Black Thought of The Roots as a favourite MC; his tightly-constructed, complex flow certainly owes a debt to the Philadelphia rapper, as well as the woozy, psychedelic wordplay of Aesop Rock.
Illuminati addresses deep political and philosophical themes over an understated electronic beat, For The Kids has a light-hearted, surreal, almost De La-esque message of positivity. Eclipsed briefly lets the side down with a half-cocked narrative addressed to an inferior rapper, but the propulsive, relentless pressure of The Ancient is the album's highlight, and confirms Homeboy Sandman as a fresh and original voice in modern hip-hop. [Bram E Gieben]