The philosopher Timothy Morton has observed that poetic imagery, like light, is delivered in discrete, quantized packets, one after the other after the other. There are convenient coincidences along with this: our eyes see at a certain number of frames per second, our ears can only hear so much at any given moment. There are both limitations to our perception of reality, and to the communication of reality itself.
Hip hop is an art form that is an attempt to subvert these restrictions beyond even traditional poetry’s tendencies to overpack imagery with metaphor. The layering of samples woven together with the emcee’s narrative thread creates some of the densest quanta in the universe: imagery bouillon. The new release from Homeboy Sandman, called Grim Seasons, is emblematic.
Homeboy Sandman speaks in packets packed with history and tangent. The connection he draws between the spirit in the womb and the spirit in the breath is not only visually compelling, but durable, communicating a metaphor that spans millennia. His album “Humble Pi”, a collaboration with producer Edan, will be released in late October.