While many of us have already broken our New Years’ Resolutions, New York underground hip-hop icon and consummate gentleman Homeboy Sandman is ensuring rap fans looking to start their 2014 off with a solid show to watch will be getting their money’s worth. While he’s been signed to Los Angeles indie-heavyweight Stones Throw since 2011, Sandman’s spent his time off tour supporting and stimulating the vibrant-as-ever New York scene.This Saturday, January 18th at Gramercy Theater, Sandman’s partnered with Tru Statement Entertainment for a line-up that boasts some of his hip-hop favorites from all corners of the boroughs’ many scenes.
We spoke to Sandman about looking back on 2013 and what we can expect from these new faces on Saturday.
Congrats on a landmark 2013. This time last year, what are some thing you wouldn’t have expected to happen?
I don’t know, I kind of expected everything to happen in 2013. I put out a couple of EPs, one with EL RTNC, one with M Slago, cool cats I’ve been working with for a long time. I was really happy with both. I did two European tours. I headlined my first national tour, which was super-phat.
Now that you’ve been a regular in Europe, what’s the difference between European crowds and American crowds?
It seems people in Europe get more access to a wider array of hip-hop. I look to do my unconventional thing a lot of the time, and it’s one thing to go in front of a crowd that knows me here. But, I do a lot of festivals in Europe and a lot of those are mixed crowds who won’t know who you are. But, there’s a receptivity and, I don’t want to down American crowds because I feel a New York crowd that loves hip-hop is the best crowd. But, overall, to the layperson, out here there’s a lot less “I never heard of you” because, if you hear me now, that’s enough because the music’s good. In America, there’s a glass ceiling because they never heard of you.
What inspired you to put together this particular show’s line-up?
To me, it’s the phattest bill. I was looking to assemble a bill where everybody is phenomenal in terms of live performance, talent and recording. Everybody is going to be wowed. Everybody is going to say “why aren’t these the people that everybody’s talking about?” Everyone one on this bill, I love going to their show. All those people in there are going to see five dudes the likes of which they’ve never seen before. This is going to be a big deal. These are five of the undeniable talents in New York City and people are going to leave here on a mass scale realizing that something is up, and I want to make that point.
See also: Homeboy Sandman’s Road Stories and Homecoming
Homeboy Sandman named his favorite tracks from each artists on the bill to give us a preview of what to expect:
YC the Cynic – “Heaviest Cross”
YC is very very very very very phenomenal. He’s really good. His presentation, even to his fashion, he’s not trying to be anybody else. I first saw him at the Nuyurican when I hosted a show there. Right off top, I thought this kid was amazing.
I Am Many – “Powerful Impact”
He’s got so many different joints and his records be sounding different. The people on this bill are so uncompromising and not afraid to be themselves. He’s very extroverted, trying to be all nutty and what not. The way he performs so much and is so into his own stuff really made me pay attention to him. People say you got to give your most and he really embodies that.
Open Mike Eagle – “Qualifiers”
That’s a great song. I, right now, can’t think of a hook I like better in the history of hooks. I don’t have a comprehensive list of hooks in front of me, but I just love that. He has in there “I’m half black soap and half crack smoke.” I like his musicality. I first saw him at the New Knitting Factory right when it opened. I had first met him at SXSW, but that was the first time I got to take in his set. You can’t categorize him.
Tone Tank – “Ellen Degenerates”
Produced by Steel Tipped Dove, Tone gives his own rendition of when Q-Tip’s “Don’t you know things move in cycles.” I can’t even do it. I first saw him at the Mercury Lounge at a Junk Science show. He put a milk crate on the stage and did the whole performance standing on a milk crate. He controlled the Mercury Lounge standing still the whole time, but his charisma and presence was there. It was a clinic in how to be the center of attention.