Other than “The Carpenter” earning a spot in the top 50, content has been scarce on Mr. Sandman since I interviewed him in May. However, the hardest working man since “Hey Mon” has been steadily building buzz, even attracting Fader love that surely attracted him a mass audience among mustache mavens. Within six months, his Rawkus diaspora fan base will be overwhelmed by the centripetal force of the altered zones. In the interim, Sandman continues to distinguish himself from every post-backpack rapper through the sheer musicality of his approach. The video for “King of Kings” makes the divide more stark, setting him up against Moses Rockwell and P So, who fail to realize that standing out in 2010 requires more than bland competence.
You can mock them for their analog obsession — Walkman’s Vs. iPod’s, but it’s no different than the tape fetishization at work within the legions of Brooklyn lo-fi bands. What’s different with Sandman is that he understands the importance of selling every bar. His voice lunges, rises, questions, and considers in every syllable. It’s a conversational flow but clearly cadence-obsessed. Sometimes, it’s the ineffable quality of charisma and personality. Or maybe it’s that Homeboy Sandman raps like a pickpocket, trying to shake the beat down for loose change and any and all empty space. Queens gypsy cab rap.
MP3: Das Racist ft. Homeboy Sandman-“I’m Up On That”