Underground rap sensation and Queens, New York native Homeboy Sandman has again elevated to a higher stratum in his steady, career come-up with his fifth LP, Hallways. Drawing on lessons learned, a love for hip hop, great skills, and a desire to connect with the people, the cool, complex rhymer born Angel Del Villar II does great things for the people and the music culture as he blends alternative, indie hip hop with neo-conscious rap for this 2014 release. In Hallways, Homeboy Sandman is no less than a wise, modern day griot spreading knowledge born from personal experience. He delivers his brilliant rhymes in calm streams of consciousness, almost conversation like at times, employing many rhyme types, rhyme schemes and wordplay techniques. He raps soothingly about all sorts of different life topics in a learned, examining manner. In "America, The Beautiful," he points out that even with all the problems America has, its citizens still have opportunities and conveniences that people in some other countries just don't have. "Grand Puba" describes the mental imprisonment our narrator endured while caught up in forced relationships and empty relationships, and "Problems" illustrates how the smallest things in life can cause great distress if mistakenly blown out of proportion, an ingenious case in point about "not sweating the small stuff." On another note, Hallways' productions are just as impressive as Homeboy Sandman's lyrics. With each track graced by a different underground producer, the album keeps in abundance fresh, artful, soul beats that stand out one by one but also blend very well next to each another. Hallways has Homeboy Sandman maintaining great focus but also freely drifting to whatever subject he sees fit. In exploring his "mindscape," he concentrates on where he wants to go unfettered, never tethered to one direction, style or topic. With lots of great concepts and thoughts for listeners to ponder, Hallways reveals many an unobstructed perspective on which to muse.
September 2, 2014