I recently sat down with one of NYCâ€™s finest up and coming MCs, Homeboy Sandman, to discuss his music and history, the state of the NYC scene, the hip hop scene as a whole and what it means for the up and coming artist.Â Â
Introduce yourself to the readers, tell them a bit about your history, how you came up, etc.
Peace ya’ll my name is Homeboy Sandman. I came up in Queens. I had not much, more than enough, a purebred sort of a mutt. Growing up I always listened to the nicest cats. Everyone from the Fresh Prince to Black Thought to Redman to Big Pun to Eminem to Andre 3000. I never got caught up in the people everybody talked about who weren’t actually nice, of which there were many.
Since we all are creations of our influences How would you describe your sound and how do you feel they come across in the music you create?I would describe my sound as lyrics so sharp I don’t even need flows and flows so sharp I don’t even need lyrics. The gentlemen I mentioned in my first answer come across in the music I create because they set the bar that I must rise to then go beyond. They inspire me to do things that have never been done before. Find flows never flowed before. Melodies never used, experimentation with wordplay and subject matter, and finally to boldly go where no emcee has gone before. John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, The Dave Bruebeck Quartet, and Spyro Gyra are also among my melodic influences and Billie Joel is one of my favorite lyricists of all time as well.
What is your creative process writing and recording?
I Begin with the beat. Two questions come from that. First, how does this beat make me feel? What’s the mood? What’s the tone? That’s what I’m going to talk about. Something somber. Something happy. Something pure, once I have that Iâ€™m ready to go in. Secondly, what should rhymes over this sound like? What melody compliments this music. THIS IS MUSIC. Find that melody. Fit the words into that melody like putty into a crack. God does the majority of the work throughout this process.
There is the idea that the NYC scene is over, I see a bit of a resurgance going on right now, Time out New York even did a piece on all of the open mics and weekly showcases that are going on.Â What are your feelings on the scene, where itâ€™s been, where it isÂ and where itâ€™s going?
That’s ridiculous. The scene is flourishing mightily. I come across emcees every day, from professionals like Tanya Morgan and Pack FM, to open mic up and comers like YC the Cynic and Top $ Raz, who are making phenomenal music and putting on phenomenal performances. We’re getting stronger every day. It’s going forward towards the creation of hip hop that will be looked at as music first and foremost.Who are some of the up and comingÂ NYC artists that should be on people’s radar?
YC the Cynic and Top $ Raz I mentioned earlier. J Monopoly and The OISD Crew. Kalae AllDay. Brown Bag All Stars. Fresh Daily. P.SO. Jersey cats but always in NYC 8TH W1 and Brokn Englsh, just to name a few.
Hip hop seems to be taking a bit of a back seat to rock on a popular music level, much like metal and rock did when rap took over in the mid 90s.Â Obviously there will always be rap music around and being created,Â as an upÂ and coming artist how do you think rapÂ no longer being theÂ cash cow for theÂ music industry willÂ affect the music, on a personal level andÂ a macro level?
This ties into my last answer a bit. As more and more hip hop that is actually music becomes widely available people who love music will check for it. People who love music aren’t checking for this gimmicky nonmusical hip hop byproduct that’s being widely popularized. Why would they? It’s not music. People’s increasing immunity to garbage hip hop will affect the music because people will take note that the age of garbage is behind us, finally. Hip hop has finally matured to an art form where it’s artists say to themselves “oh he/she did that?! Well then I have to go even further and do this, or take another direction and do this,” rather than “oh he/she did that? Well then I have to do that too.”
I first learned of you when I would see colorful photocopies with these amazing stanzas written on them signed “Homeboy Sandman”Â posted all over the trains.Â Â To me it seemed likeÂ it was a calling card to, for lack of a better term, real heads and MCs.Â Â It wasnâ€™t necessarily something the average Joe or casual fan would understand as far as the patterns and the cleverness of the lines.Â What was the thinking behind that and whatÂ kind of resultsÂ did that campaign yield.
That’s exactly what that campaign was all about. I’ll get the masses later. Right now let me do something to let all the people that know what nice is know that I’m nice. The lines, the emcees I mentioned, was all geared towards people that really know this art recognizing that I really know it too, thus becoming interested in checking for me. The thinking behind the whole thing was “I’m nice, now all I need is for people to know it.” I’ve always been an outside the box thinker and a do it yourselfer. The results that campaign yielded were a citywide notoriety that allowed me to warp various levels in regards to my visibility, marketability, and my entire career. Companies pay millions of dollars for that type of promotion. Seriously.
So whatâ€™s coming up for Homeboy Sandman? What is the ultimate goal?Â
My third album, The Good Sun is dropping in February. Look for that. Look for The Good Sun art campaign before that, it will be everywhere your eyes can see. If you thought that train idea popped off wait until you see this! My ultimate goal is to be the real life Wyld Stallyons (from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and make the world a better place with my music. A much, much better place.
Finally, any shows or projects you want to promote?THE GOOD SUN RISES THIS FEBRUARY. OPEN YOUR EARS AND LET THE SUN SHINE IN. And come through Sputnik in BK on November 14th and watch me put in work with PseudoSlang and Loki Da Trixa. And if you’re not in NYC check out the website for road dates ’cause we be putting in road work sun.
Peace and love.
You fan find Homeboy Sandman at www.homeboysandman.com