An underground favorite with a deliberately oddball rhyme style that's simultaneously monotone and meandering, Homeboy Sandman is a Queens rapper who hit the scene in 2007. Embraced by bloggers and heads alike, he's released a gang of high-quality material over the past six years, including Actual Factual Pterodactyl, First of a Living Breed, and Subject Matter. Signed to the forward-thinking Cali label Stones Throw, he returns with Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent. It's a concept album that pays homage to the old-school pioneer, set to thoroughly funky, sample-driven production from El RTNC (a.k.a. Rthentic). Though this is only eight tracks deep, Homeboy's ultra-dense, seriously layered wordplay impresses throughout, as do the genre-twisting loops and minimalist drums. "My Brothers" calls for more positivity in hip-hop and life in general. "Men Are Mortal" shouts out Marcus Camby and Orson Welles, while "Dag, Philly Too" is a straight-up funked-out headbanger.