Consistently releasing music since 2007, five years later you still have so much to say, what gives you the fire?
This is what I love to do B. This is what makes me happy. Writing a dope rhyme. If I can't write a dope rhyme it doesn't matter what else is going on, I’m unhappy. If I write a dope rhyme then the world can be falling apart and I feel great. I can tell this is true because currently I’m writing dope rhymes while the world falls apart.
When did you first try your luck at becoming a music artist?
December 2006 when I wrote my first sober rhyme. Luck hasn't run out since.
Where does the name come from?
You could be daydreaming and that's sandman. That's what I'm about. Whisking cats away to new dimensions and mental planes. Out of the mundane.
This is your first full length with Stones Throw Records, what made you sign with them?
They're the best label in the world mostly.
The title of the new album, First of a Living Breed, what does it signify to you and your audience?
Cats that bite styles are dead. Cats that copy. Cats that imitate. They isn’t bringing no new life. They're dead, dead, dead. Cats that don't think for themselves are dead. They're zombies. Lack of love is lack of life. Cats without love in their heart are dead. You do what you do for money? You're dead. You do what you do for fame? You're dead. You ain't even alive. You don't even understand real vitality. I'm alive. I got love in my heart, in my art. You could feel it. New, new, new. Birth. Life. Cats see how I get down. They remember a better time. When hip-hop was driven by love. By freshness. New styles. Rhyming. Dancing, DJing. Writing. Rocking gear. Speaking. Whatever it was you needed new styles! My young homey said "swag" to me the other day I told her don't say that! She said why? I told her when I was growing up the rappers talked like us; we ain't talk like the rappers. It was us. The people. We were the real thing. We were alive. And we were strong! So yeah these cats that'll remember a better time they'll tell me i'm the last of a dying breed and I’ll tell ‘em nah. I'm the first of a living breed. We bought to shut all this whack ish down.
How does this record differ from your older material? How does it hold up?
I'm a different person. My art is me. I done records where i wasn't cursing in real life. So i'm not cursing in those records. I done albums where i was a raw organic vegan, so that'd be my energy in those records. I done records at a time what was most important to me was being a dope rapper and getting lots of buns, so that's what you hear in those records. I done records times where i was writing with my left hand and brushing my teeth with my left hand and looking to be doing something at every moment that was uncomfortable to me so you hear that experimentation in those records. I'm not a character b. With set parameters. I evolve. I grow. My thoughts change. So all my material is always going to be different until I’m dead. From a content standpoint. Energy standpoint. Flow standpoint. And plus not to mention the fact that I ain't never gonna do something on a record that I’ve done before. I hate biting so much I won't even bite myself. So this album is basically boy sand like you've never heard him before. (as usual)
Queens, where you are from seems to be back on the hip-hop map since the release of Nas’ latest and Action Bronson on the rise. How does it make you feel that your home borough is back in the spotlight?
I'm from Queens and I love Queens and I love New York City but it's been a long time since spotlight was shone on people or places for the right reasons, so I don't really feel one way or the other about whatever spotlight being on Queens. If anything, to keep it real, nowadays when I see a spotlight shining somewhere I’m thinking look anywhere but there. Luckily the dope ish shines so bright it don't take no spotlight to see it anyway.
How has Queens and New York influenced your work?
My environment has played a major hand in making me who I am today. LL Cool J has played a major hand in making me who I am today. So has Mos Def. So has KRS-One. So has fighting Jimmy Nunez at IS 73. So has falling in love with Lissette Pichardo from Inwood when I was 12 years old, and being a member of contingent VII in Prep for Prep 9. The way you earn respect at a NYC basketball court that you've never played at before is a big influence on me and my work. The spirits in the last car of the train where the riff raff ran amok during the 70s and 80s has been a big influence in me and my work. Waiting in emergency rooms for 10 hours, watching people ignore people in need, insecure police officers, teachers that can't be fired for not caring about their job, rich neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods, cockroaches, babies having babies, music blaring at 4am, 24 hour white castles drive thrus, dollar vans, and a million other things. They've all influenced my work. I could write a book on this question. I could write an encyclopedia. Like the old encyclopedia brittanica. Mad volumes.
Hip-hop has always been a collaborative genre, who would you love to work with and why?
Black thought is my favorite emcee of all time I’d love to collab with him. And I’d love to have ?Uestlove produce something and I’d love to have q-tip produce something. I'd love to have RZA produce something. Man I’d love to do a joint with DOOM he's one of the illest ever together he and I can just compile bars to have people just bleeding. I'm real happy I got to work with Oddisee on "watch want from me?" by the way, am I the only one who's heard Oddisee's new album "people hear what they see?" I think I must be because I’m the only one who can't stop talking about it. It's a masterpiece.
Your live shows are fueled by so much passion and energy, how do you feel when you leave the stage? Is it exhausting or just another day at the office?
I be pretty exhausted. But I never realize until I’m done.
Of all the rhymes you have written, which is your favorite?
Awww man. Yo I seriously love every single bar I’ve ever recorded. On the new record I love every bar but on the first track "Rain," I love how I be like "I don't run with a dame 'cause a dame's fetching/ i run wit a dame 'cause her profession is playing her position/ I’m not talking about hoes or staying home in the kitchen/ I’m talking about queens/ homey those different, they roll for the whole mission/ my misses ain't submissive/ a leader, I don't need her to do my dishes, I need her to do my stitches."