Like most Stones Throw artists, Homeboy Sandman goes against the grain, habitually, with a melodic flow that is unmistakable — a flow that led New York Press to proclaim him the best MC in NYC in 2008. A decade after his debut, Homeboy quietly drops his excellent seventh studio album, Veins.
His first solo release since September's collaborative sequel project with Aesop Rock, Lice Two: Still Buggin', Veins stands at ten tracks long, dripping with 'isms' that fans have come to love and expect from him. There are solid rhyme schemes with heavy rewind value, delivered with pure wit, originality and disregard for contemporary or mainstream song structure. "Consumption," for example, is a run-on allusion for his music as an ultra-potent element that walks the line between sweet treat and mind-altering drug. And real heads will love his bars on "As Long As You Know" and the summer vibe of "A's, J's & L's."
The most significant song is the Katiah-produced "Underground Dreams," where listeners are left to wonder if he's talking literally or hypothetically with lines like "One day I'll make a record everyone thinks is a classic, not just a couple people." He seems to be calling his underground approach into question, an approach that appears to feed his desire for the creative fulfillment more than anything else. Will we see Homeboy take a new, more commercially viable approach in the future??
Either way, Veins is a welcome addition to his catalogue for now. Homeboy Sandman seems to take critical acclaim with a grain of salt, and stays admirably true to the uniqueness that won over fans a decade ago. He lives up to his line, "sticks out like a sore thumb," in the best way possible. (Stones Throw)