Humble Pi is the collaboration between underground hip-hop veterans Edan and Homeboy Sandman. Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of both these cats. Been rocking Edan’s music since his debut album in 2002, and with over 20 releases under his belt, let the record state that Homeboy Sandman is one of the most talented and hard working MC’s in the game.
There’s a lot to digest in this lyrically dense, musically adventurous 7-track project. Edan’s production draws from a wild assortment of records, leaning heavily on psychedelic rock sounds, which he filters, warps and reorganizes into driving, quirky beats that sound unlike anything being released today. Check the fuzzy, funky bass line of “Rock n Roll Indian Dance” or the smashed up cymbal sound that plays the roll of hi-hat on “Unwavering Mind,” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
This is terrible background music; it demands your full attention. Sand handles most of the rhymes here and his left-field topics, unique perspectives and monster sense of humor (yes, humor in 2018 hip-hop!) jive perfectly with the ambitious beats. “Freeze and put your hands up regardless of if you have questions,” he raps on “Grim Seasons,” a line that encapsulates his humor, politics and ability to move a crowd all at once. His writing is enriched by the range of sources he draws upon for inspiration.
Take a minute to digest this line from “The Gut”: “I’m Papa San / bopping to the Bach and Brahms / and frickin Rick the Ruler / playing it cool like I’m the fucking Fonz.” Homeboy Sandman is your “fellow cellar dweller with his feather in the ink,” but he’s writing better rhymes than you with that feather! And if you don’t think rap can make you laugh in 2018, go hit play on “#NeverUseTheInternetAgain” right now.
Mainstream rap fans may pass this project by, but if you’re sick of generic beats and rhymes about sex and drugs, don’t say “I don’t like new hip-hop”. Instead, go buy this album and support original art.