Homeboy Sandman: A Rapper Leaves Law Behind | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Homeboy Sandman: A Rapper Leaves Law Behind

Play associated audio

The bare facts of Homeboy Sandman's back story don't sound very hip-hop: prep school in New Hampshire, Ivy League B.A., even some pieces for The Huffington Post. But, as is often the case with class and race in America, bare facts don't tell the whole story.

Sandman's Dominican-born father was a gifted heavyweight who quit boxing to become a lawyer. His Puerto Rican mom graduated from college around the time her son was winning his third scholarship, this time to law school. He eventually left school to pursue rapping full time, and five years later, he now makes a comfortable living touring the U.S. and Europe, even if his four albums have barely charted.

The rapper, born Angel Del Villar II, grew up in an intensely multiracial neighborhood in Queens where hip-hop was everywhere — but as pop music, rather than a prescription for living. He heard it on the block, but he also got into it via a supportive extended family, whose presence he evokes in "For the Kids," a standout track on his fourth album, First of a Living Breed.

Homeboy Sandman is an unapologetic moralist who won't rap about guns or accept liquor sponsorships. But, in contrast to all too many independent hip-hoppers, his sense of play helps his moralism go down. His delivery has a drawling, almost shy-seeming lilt that's way too sharp lyrically to pass off as soft.

A few of the songs on First of a Living Breed are pretty leisurely, but don't think Sandman can't rev up his flow. In the rapid-fire scattershot of "Watchu Want from Me," he skips directly from a romantic kiss-off to a brief explanation of how kids end up in jail. And, true to his hip-hop game, he sounds like he's having fun doing it.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Curb Your Appetite: Save Bread For The End Of The Meal

A hot bread basket is a tasty way to start off dinner. But all those carbs before the main fare can amp up appetite and spike blood sugar. Saving the carbs for the end of the meal can help avert that.
NPR

Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi

Eons ago, cabbage butterfly larvae and the plants they eat began an evolutionary arms race. The result: "mustard oil bombs" that give the plants, and condiments we make from them, distinctive flavors.
WAMU 88.5

Troubles In Puerto Rico And Greece And What They Mean For Other Economies

Puerto Rico's governor says the U.S. territory cannot pay its billions in debt. Like Greece, it faces a long road to stability. We look at the fundamental economic problems in Puerto Rico and Greece, and how they could affect economies in the U.S. and worldwide.

WAMU 88.5

Pop Culture Trends in Video Gaming

More women on screen and more exploration are among the trends in video gaming this year. Tech Tuesday explores how pop culture and new technology are changing the gaming experience.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.