Gig Review: Homeboy Sandman

By Heather Wall

This was to be the weirdest interview I’ve ever done…

Last week I went to Nottingham to see New York MC/lyricist Homeboy Sandman play a gig at Bodega. Two years ago he played in Manchester at Kraak Galleries (before I’d discovered him) and on this UK tour, he was to only play Nottingham, Brighton and Bristol. My closest option was Nottingham. And that’s what this guy is worth. A 2 hour drive there and back. Honestly.

That morning I woke up, ready for the two hour drive across the Peak District. I checked my emails and had received a late night one from Homeboy, asking where there is to go out in Nottingham. I gathered he was a friendly guy. Shame I got there late. He then emailed again asking me to bring him a pair of nail clippers.

Not Joking.

That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked by an emcee to bring him nail clippers. But whatever, we all need to cut our nails on tour, I guess…

So I left the house, nail clippers and dictaphone in tow, and before I knew it I’d arrived at Elias’ house, the student castle I was staying at that night. Elias is a regular on the Nottingham gigging scene and seemed like the perfect person to go with to something like this. It turned out he already knew people on the lineup which included a guy called Ashmore who’s current single is a heart-rendering tribute to his young son. Also on the lineup was Can B (another Notts MC) who’s backing tracks sounded a lot more bassy and grimy than Ashmore’s, providing an interesting break from the slightly more R&B vibes we got from Ashmore. (this is what Ashmore and Motormouf looked like later.. Apparently Motormouf had broken his leg, hence the jazzy stick).


Anyway, what was I saying. I was at Elias’ house and I got an email from the Homeboy. He wanted to meet me at the laundrette. LAUNDRETTE. LAUNDRETTE. Really?! Yes, really. Apparently he’d forgotten to do his washing that day, and needed to get to Bright’s Laundrette pronto. We set off on foot to get to the laundrette, before he called me to find out if I could get him in my car.

To cut a long story short, we got to the hotel, grabbed the homeboy and made it to Bright’s only to find out that they’d stopped taking clothes. The Sandman left them there anyway. After having quite frankly a hilarious laugh the whole way there talking about nail clippings, dreaming music and Homeboy Sandman’s slightly nomadic lifestyle, we decided it’d be best to conduct the interview in the car on the way back.

It’s bangin. It’s frank. It’s honest. It’s real and it’s deep. You can listen to it on my next podcast (out later this month).

The gig! Later on we arrived at Bodega in time to listen to Ashmore with a little help from Motormouf, an MC/beatboxer who slips seamlessly between the two. Following Ashmore’s smoother, R&B vibe hip-hop, Can B took it a bit more bassy and maybe a bit more dirty. Bodega is a great little venue. Intimate but with a good sized stage and a just little bit dirty.

Hails from New York, this guy is great. He’s from New York and has been rapping since he was a kid. Born Again Sinner is his most recent album, and it’s free to download if you want to get a feel of what he’s about.

Next was Homeboy Sandman.


Beginning the show with the Carpenter was a huge move, but it was good. The energy he brought to the stage and then to the people was just so energising. Keping up the pace, mixing his backing tracks seamlessly was his wonderful long-time DJ companion DJ Sosa. This is Elias with Sosa. (apologies for the graininess, this was post-beers…)


Other tracks he played included his corker ‘Not Really’, from 2012, where he describes the minimal impact on his day-to-day life his success has made. Another favourite of mine was ‘Couple Bars‘, probably because of the wonderful lyrics, ‘I’ve got you under my skin, but nothing fungal’ – this guy has a sense of humour. Other favourites numbered ones on his most recent release, White Sands which is out now. My favourite track might be Wade In The Water. The whole thing is a work of genius, and Homeboy says there’s more to come.

So get your hands on it. You can buy the 12″ as well as the digital release here.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled, I’ll be putting the whole thing on my next podcast.


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