You knock twice upon the door in front of you. A small panel slides to the side, revealing a pair of purple eyes. You knock three times upon the door, and it swings open. You step through the billow of smoke pouring from the opening, and into a leather-clad lounge filled with patrons of all sizes and species. A jazz quintet performs on a small stage in the far corner of the room. A hood figure jumps on the stage, grabs the microphone, and speaks . . .
Possessing a fresh style is integral to obtaining success in the hip-hop world, and many artists skirt this requirement by subscribing to the collective style(s) of cultural regions, whether it’s the West’s rhythmic musicality, East’s boom-bap lyricism, South’s bouncy funk, or some mixture. However, this particular MC is a jack of all trades. Kindness For Weakness is the newest full-length from Queens rapper Homeboy Sandman.
Armed with a slew of versatile instrumentals and collaborations from RJD2, Eric Lau, Edan, Until The Ribbon Breaks, Aesop Rock, Kurious, and Stones Throw heavyweight Jonwayne, Sandman puts on a clinic that runs the gamut of flexible hip-hop methodology. Rather than stuffing as many word-heavy phrases into his verses as possible, the sagacious MC specializes in small morsels of wisdom that hit like bombs.
Sandman owns a distinctive technique that’s nigh impossible to pin down, and he utilizes his compelling flexibility to craft emotive hard-hitters (“Seam by Seam”, “It’s Cold”), rapid-fire lyrical exercises (“Real New York”, “Keep It Real”), collaborative cipher sessions (“Earth, Wind, Fire, Water”, “Speak Truth”), and spoken-word oddities (“Talking (Bleep)”, “Sly Fox”). If you’re seeking versatile, intelligent hip-hop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)