September 30, 2013

If rap is pro wrestling as Uncle Rush recently said on the Arsenio Hall Show, it doesn’t mean that it necessarily conforms to the modern nitroglycerin stereotype. If it is wrestling, it’s more like the early 80s pre-Wrestlemania version, with deep competition in different realms — in one arena, a flashy gimmick could outstrip technical skill. In another, they wanted their suplexes with the most supreme virtuosity. And sometimes, you got a great grappler with bleached blonde hair and a flair for saying “Woo.” This should have been Young Dro, but alas, the fall-off, like the turn-up, can be very real.

Homeboy Sandman is someone like Bob Backlund, who you might remember from darts thrown by everyone from Sean P to Reggie Nobble. If you listen to rap solely for the bounce you might miss out, but if you’re a word nerd, there’s something thrilling in hearing someone bend bars into broken spines, and then reassembled to fit his whim. The video for “Men is Mortal” from Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent, continues Sandman’s everyday is no frills approach: champion raps in champion sweats. Rhyme styles taken from the textbook and transformed to shatter clavicles. This a tradition that he keeps alive as well as anyone in or outside the ring. Man can’t live on feather boas alone.

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