The children are our future and we may all realize this, but not enough of us cultivate the growth of the youth to assure that we have a beautiful future. Kids love celebrities, especially when that celebrity has a song that tells them exactly how to “Swag Surf” or how to just be fly. If we knew any better, we wouldn’t allow artists to dictate what our children become, especially if all they sang or rapped about was money, clothes and hoes. There was one teacher that saw the deterioration of our young people and decided to do something about it. He didn’t create bold new lesson plans or plan super cool field days, he became an emcee. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Homeboy Sandman was born. Since becoming an emcee, he hasn’t done anything else and that’s a great thing because we need music that has a pulse–music that cares. His first commercial release–The Good Sun–dropped on June 1st and in case you haven’t heard it yet, please do yourself a favor. Homeboy Sandman is pulling hip hop out of the club, the bedroom and definitely off the block. There’s so much more to rhyme about than the obvious and if you’re willing to learn, this teacher is willing to teach.
Congratulations on your first commercial release! I know it just came out at the beginning of this month. In case we haven’t heard it yet, what can we expect to hear on The Good Son?
From a musical standpoint–it provides melodies, alliteration, assonance, wordplay and all the elements of music that make brilliance. There is all new music, an all new sound–from the production to the rhyming. The execution is all pushing the envelope. I don’t really have a style, so It’s all different types of styles. We have a variety of content. We have songs up there about homeless people, the things we have in our pockets and making faces at people. One thing I am excited about when it comes to this album is the variety of content that I am looking to provide. I am so fed up that cats [these days] are rapping about seven things. Even if they’re not rapping about money, criminality or something like that, they rap about how they don’t rap about that. There’s not too many dimensions. You can expect a lot of different angles and dealing with a lot of issues that nobody deals with in hip hop. In other music, you can make songs about anything. I would like for hip hop to embrace that as well.
That’s true. People consider hip hop to be a culture. As broad as that is, It’s surprising that people can’t cover more topics. Are you bringing something fresh to hip hop that people haven’t heard?
Absolutely. The danger in looking at it as a culture–whoever decides where hip hop becomes popular gets to decide what our culture becomes. It used to be more cultural, in the streets and winds up on the radio. Now it starts on the radio and winds up on the streets. We’re not the ones picking the records. We’ve given up our power of choice by showing that we won’t turn off the radio to the hogwash they give us. It’s not even us choosing what our culture becomes! Q-tip said, “Hip-hop can never be a way of life. It doesn’t show you how to raise a child or treat a wife?” I agree with that, but hip-hop has started telling people how to treat a wife. It’s not people with our best interests in mind choosing which messages we get. It can make us one dimensional people if we can allow this music and only what is talked about in this music to stand for our culture. That’s why I try to talk about whatever. I will make a song about eating watermelon. That happens in my culture. I write a song about cutting the grass or going to the beach–whatever comes to mind. Let’s show them we have all different types of dimensions taking place in our lives and culture.
Let’s talk about your name–Homeboy Sandman. Where did that come from?
The name did kind of come to me as if in a dream. I’ve always gotten a kick out of coming up with monikers for myself even before I started rhyming. When I came up with Homeboy Sandman, it had an impact. It had gravity to it that I knew I would stick to this for the rest of my life. This was before I started rhyming seriously. People think the Sandman puts you to sleep. That’s not true. The Sandman grants you your dreams. It’s much more about the imagery that’s in your head and the ability to create these detailed images. This is what I do with my music. Sometimes It’s so vivid, you don’t even know if It’s real or not. It speaks to the versatility. Think about the Sandman from Marvel Comics–the bad guy that turns his arm into a sledge hammer. I’m very much like that with the way I sound. I don’t have a style. I don’t sound the same on two different records. I always sound different because I fit into the grooves of the beat like sand. The Homeboy part–this is your homeboy, your man, your peoples. He’s from the building around the way. You see him all the time, he’s got your back. If the Sandman lived in your building, he’d be Homeboy Sandman. That’s how I came up with that.
It seems you’re all about self improvement–with your teacher/emcee transition and being a conscious artist. Do you feel that image of you helps your music on a selling level?
**read Homeboy’s response and the rest of the interview here**