Review Summary: An album where nothing happens, 9 times out of 10.
Rap is appealing to a wide array of people for many different reasons. Some of us are more attracted to the message these performers try to convey. Others would rather be impressed by complex rhyme schemes that are chain-linked through a verse or two. These same qualities are what end up compelling some people to take up rapping, and the most recognized are those who are equally skilled at both. Unfortunately, rappers that are blatantly putting the majority of their effort into quick rhymes still exist, and a very good example would be Homeboy Sandman. Veins
is the most recent solo outing from the self-proclaimed "H.S. Floetry" and his knack for very lazy verses permeates all 10 songs on the 24-minute album. This is a quote from the first track, 'Between The Lines', which contains a lusterless instrumental underneath a 90-second verse:
"Say, I caped crusades in broad day on Broadway
I dawn shades, not on face, my off days don't take place
I'll cook up an entree then say a long grace"
Just in that individual snippet, we see several examples of words being forced into a verse for the sole purpose of rhyming. "Oblong shapes" has nothing to do with the words that preceded it, nor the lines that followed, but it rhymed so it was included anyway. That is frustrating to hear, especially when it happens so often. Every single song on Veins
follows this format. All of them hover between two and three minutes. No hooks are to be found, only verses that are painfully stretched to cover an acceptable amount of the track. 'Consumption' is another sad instance of this, where after a minute, Sandman starts telling you all the different ways you can consume food. In a shake, baked in a cake, but don't take it in the vein or take it in vain, or you'll never be the same.
On exactly one occasion, this format manages to be exciting. On 'Bamboo', H.S. flows at a speed that's significantly faster than the rest of the songs on Veins
. His backing beat shifts just enough to not be considered stiff, with the sharp guitars adding the right amount of flavor. On top of this, he doesn't lose sight of the beat, and his lyrics are reckless enough to be enthralling and humorous at once. A crack at his own technique even occurs in this song as well:
"Out in Brooklyn I'll be looking at the clowns
There be crowds of them homie, there be droves of 'em, loads of 'em
But you know something?
I don't even mind, I just put 'em in a rhyme 'cause it rhymed"
H.S. knows that this is how he tends to craft music, so at least he is not ignorant. The problem is that nothing about this album is remarkable or captivating at all. Over and over again, he manages to say nothing worthwhile in less than three minutes. 'Ceviche with Nietzsche' has that humdrum writing present even in the title, and the lyrical content of the song itself is not any sort of an improvement. As a whole project, Veins
is somewhat interesting on the first listen, but nothing new is revealed upon further analysis. Monotonous instrumentals combined with erratic, haphazard writing does not make for an entertaining listen, and this album is packed full of that. Listening to it feels more like a diminishing experience than anything else.