Interview: Homeboy Sandman Talks Kool Herc, Huffington Post and Gawker, and Creating a Homeboy Sandman Album.

Posted By on September 06, 2013 @ 2:00 PM | Interviews

Queens-bred Homeboy Sandman signed with Stones Throw in August 2011, and since then, has released five projects under the label. His latest projects – All That I Hold Dear (ATIHD), produced by M Slago, and Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent, produced by EL RTNC – are single-producer EPs, a smart move that helps Sand articulate his themes. Sandman talks to us about his projects, why he drops so many joints, and, of course, is nothing but candid.

Homeboy Sandman

Stereo Assault: So what’s your creative process? For picking beats, for writing bars, for finding a producer – is there a method to the madness?

Homeboy Sandman: I pick beats that I hear and I’m like, oh snap I gotta rap on that. There’s no method, it’s all gut feeling. With the flow too and with the topic too. All from the gut.

SA: What made you want to create single-producer projects?

HS: I had so much work done with particular producers and needed to get that ish out. “White Sands” coming next produced entirely by Paul White.

SA: How does Kool Herc pay tribute to the father of hip hop?

HS: It’s amazing truthful honest loving talented spirited organic hip hop.

SA: When peeping new music, especially hip hop, I listen first for lyrics/bars. What do you listen for first?

HS: You hear that beat first and I won’t lie, if a beat is crazy I could handle subpar lyrics. Not stupid, hateful lyrics though, no matter how fat the beat is.

SA: You use your joint “Musician”, from ATIHD, as a way to explain your career. Do you think of yourself as an artist, writer, poet or anything else? Do you have an aversion to the term rapper?

HS: Nah, not at all. I am a rapper. Artist. Emcee. Writer. Musician. I think it’s sad what connotation the term [rapper] holds in so many peoples’ minds though. See “Oh, The Horror” on Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent for details.

SA: You create a lot of projects. Why choose to consistently drop new music?

HS: Because I create every day. I already have a major traffic jam going on as far as my joints, that are waiting to get out. I gotta get these joints out.

SA: Can we expect a new full-length album from you next?

HS: “White Sands” has 8 joints on it. Definitely a filling serving.

SA: Socially conscious hip hop is 100% what I associate with Sandman, but you don’t seem like the kinda cat who’s into labels.

HS: Yeah labels are whack. Except for Stones Throw ;]

SA: I don’t think socially conscious hip hop is really slept on, but it kinda seems to fly under the radar. What’s your take on that?

HS: I won’t allow the money-hungry racists who decide what everybody talks about, by controlling the media, to determine what “hip hop/rap” means to me. To me, hip hop/rap is currently beautiful. I’m talking about the cats that are nice. If it’s not talent-based, it’s not hip hop.

SA: You’ve written for HuffPost and Gawker about issues like topical diversity in rap and New York’s stop and frisk program. What moved you to write for these publications?

HS: HuffPost are cowards that ran with their tail between their legs as soon as I began to question the masters they bow to. They’re just a decoy claiming to be the voice of the people. They moderate comments for goodness sake. I’ll take any opportunity to act on, or speak on, the things that I find to be important.

SA: When does a project feel complete?

HS: When I’ve got a sequence that has that perfect flow, top to bottom. That has all the elements that I want the project to have; all the different feelings.

SA: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring emcees?

HS: Don’t let fear stop you from doing anything you want to do.

Peep Homeboy Sandman at Blank Space in St. Louis, Tuesday, September 10.

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Tara is a freelance writer and blogger who's written about almost nearly everything. "I'm honest, so be humble and modest."

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