This EP gets better the more you listen to it. Homeboy Sandman’s second EP for Stones Throw, Chimera, proves to be a real head spinner. Listen to it for the first time and you might not understand the subject of each track. Listen to it twice, three times, and his lyrics weave themselves together — as if this is the way he intended.
Although only 6 tracks long, this EP covers a diverse range of subjects. Homeboy Sandman knows that he can reach further than the average “pop rapper”, and talk about a variety of subjects to create his art. Homeboy Sandman skilfully highlights issues that tend to be kept at a safe distance on other rap albums. He touches on corruption and police brutality, religion, and social politics, just for starters. Even in light of these weighty topics, Boy Sand has managed to craft an engaging and interestingly relatable EP.
Homeboy Sandman’s rhyme style is unorthodox to the point that you could forget it was a rap track and think you are listening to him simply unloading knowledge. This is part of his brilliance.
He can interlink each bar whilst keeping his lyrics unrestrictedly creative. Track 4, “Illuminati”, is the best representation of his rapping within this EP. The steady pace of the beat and his words work perfectly together. The entire track is in Homeboy Sandman’s peculiar, but beautifully capable, story-telling style. From track 1, “Look Out”, to track 6, “They Can’t Hang (Word to the Mother)”, Homeboy Sandman raps with great enthusiasm, personality and evident devotion. Each gives the listener a great insight into the MC’s mind and personality. The EP is distinguishable for the metaphorical signature that Homeboy injects from start to finish. It really does make it his, and create something that is encapsulating to listen to.
The album production comes from Mr. Familiar, Exile, J57, Navie D and 2 tracks produced by Paul White. However, the tone and speed of the EP doesn’t change dramatically. “Look Out”, “I Do Whatever I Want”, “Illuminati” and “Hold Your Head” are consistently atmospheric beats that are particularly well-suited for being played through speakers. The remaining 2 tracks — “Cops Get Scared of Me”, produced by Exile, and “They Can’t Hang (World to the Mother)”, produced by Paul White — are more experimental and playful, especially contrasting to Homeboy Sandman’s slow paced rhyming. Each track, however, keeps a repetitive beat that doesn’t over-shadow Sandman’s lyrical intricacy. This style of production works to compliment the artist’s content. The track becomes more about the words coming from his mouth and doesn’t allow listeners to discriminate and form an opinion on the track based on the beat. Each acts as a canvas to Homeboy’s lyrical art.
This EP overall, turns out a great listening experience. However, it is a particularly esoteric. The listener must be able to fully appreciate the gravity of the lyrics despite a sometimes-mundane flow and sluggish pace. Due to this, Chimera is great for experienced listeners with a wide range of rap knowledge and an open mind. But, would make it unappealing to part-time rap listeners. A criticism of the EP, although small, is it ends on the weakest track. 1-5 are generally consistent; however track 6 seems to break from the trend. He has a very distinctive style that needs to be tasted in its entirety to be understood. Chimera is an EP brimming with lyrical content that makes you engage, wonder, debate, agree and disagree. It truly rewards for repeated listening and gives you something different each time you hit that play button.
Get FamiliarJ. Kennedy
Meet Midwest-by-way-of-SD MC/producer, J. Kennedy, and check out the premiere of his brand new project, ‘California Dreaming’.