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Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Alternative




"Sandpeople :: Long Story, Short..."

Whenever a multi-member hip-hop group bands together, there are going to be inherent, and often unfair, comparisons to elite collectives from the past such as the mighty dominant Wu-Tang Clan and The Juice Crew, respectively. Given that, the Sandpeople are at a distinct disadvantage set by a certain historical context. "Long Story, Short..." though, this 10-member group of competent emcees that formed in Portland, Oregon, don't fail to deliver an intriguing album.

The first thing a group such as Sandpeople need to establish is that each member has something different to offer, thus creating a multi-textured effort that does not slip into the mundane. Here, it seems that the group consisting of; Ethic, Sapient, Onlyone, Immaculate, Mo-B, Lame, Gold and Al-One, has slimmed down on a couple of members since their inception back in 2005. Still, each one of them offers their own rhyme style which keeps things interesting. Once signed with Epic Records, this faction has been on the verge of commercial success but is now strictly an underground bi-product of the record industry that too often spits out talented musicians, in this case promoting the likes of rock band The Fray in favor of the Sandpeople. It may be all for the better though, since I don't really see the Sandpeople fitting in with the current mainstream market, making people do ignorant shit like the "Ricky Bobby," when considering the gloomy tracks on this new EP.

All nine tracks on "Long Story, Short..." are produced and mixed by in-house rapper/producer Sapient, or the RZA of the group, in his very own studio. This effectively creates a feeling of cohesiveness as he has a nisus for the dramatic that matches the lyrical content.

"Control Panel" is a strong example of the pessimism towards humanity and government that the Sandpeople exude throughout the disc's narrative. As the beat plods along, we get scathing verses like this from Lame:

"Give a pedestrian a pedestal
A puppet strings; Gepetto's pull
The public thinks it is in control
Pump your brakes- They'll let you know
Big Brother in high-definition
No one state the division
Right wing Christians stay wetted up
Iraq streets we lit 'em up
This be the land of the litter bug
Home of the unleaded pump
Our former President
led us into war just to catch Sadam (mission accomplished)
At the end of the day it's just a job description
Or citizens march armed with their best Wizard of OZ renditions
Like all we see is the heart, courage and brains
To spark a serious change
Through a series of chain
Reactions, no lights, camera, fiction
Fists are better than the city skyline
As we redefine freedom
Too long we've been denied truth
Loot the root of the society
And everybody's got a price tag
Some confuse it with merits
And try to conceal the motives most
The brutally transparent
But at the end of the day
If everyone's paid
A weight's lifted off of every poor person's back
Like their soul been saved
Take that false hope to the grave"

Lame is anything but, as you can tell by the strength of his words on the track. Nor is Sapient or Onlyone whom also drop effective verses on the cut.

While "Control Panel" might be the most important and politically conscious songs on the EP, "Hate Aside" is the very best and most accessible joint. Here Sapient brings us deep piano tones and DJ Spark offers up slick scratches. The tracks main focus is about persevering in the independent hip-hop scene, which they will effectively do if they continue to bring heat like this. The song succeeds because of the melodic sing-songy chorus:

"There ain't no rules in this game we play
Hate aside there ain't shit you can say"

Listeners will put their hate aside immediately after hearing this stellar offering.

Finally, the concluding track "The Dapper Mob" is a masterfully composed song written and composed by Sapient as he takes the song, as he is the only member that gets a solo. The song is far from your standard rap fare; in fact, it kind of sounds like a grim version of Pharrell at his most creative. Still the demented discourse is enthralling as Sap' states, "oh be good, or I'll be in the shadows with a baseball bat."

These reviews are truthfully too short to analyze every effective track, even considering it's short length, but "Oh My God," "Money Is On Their Minds" and "Left," which celebrate their Northwest geography, all prevail. Meanwhile, some tracks like "Strands" and the frenzied "Beyond Us" do not do much to differentiate themselves enough to standout, yet are still far from wack, or even average.

The only minor points of detraction from "Long Story, Short..." are that the album sometimes feels a little too dark, lacking any kind of light at the end of the tunnel, and that it is difficult to give each member time to shine on a release that closes at about 36 minutes of runtime. Wanting more is not the worst criticism to have. And they don't waste any time with introductions or needless skits. If you have the same urge to dig deeper into the catalogue, check for their previous two LP's and some of the solo work they've put out which seems to be consistently solid.

The Sandpeople strive to bring these multi-member groups back to the forefront of the rap movement. Though they may fail in popularizing such groups again, they definitely represent the importance of them when each piece fits together to make a well-balanced release. More in the same vein as Jedi Mind Tricks, they devilishly play around with a brooding sentiment that works on many levels. -


From the churning Northwest hails a sinister breed of hip hop known as the Sandpeople. The Sandpeople have been on the move with their new release Long Story Short, which contains 9 tracks of cryptic rhythms and memorizing rhymes. Their sound is unique and versatile, but still maintains a common denominator that holds their album Long Story, Short… together stylistically. Upon first hearing the intro track “Strands” I was automatically intrigued by this mysterious cult of emcees. The production is clean and dark, with almost little to no samples. The recording is pristine and the editing on is on point (they must have a great in house engineer). You can tell the emcees spend lots of time together because they trade lines back and forth with fluidity throughout the whole album which could only be accomplished by being in the presence of each other. Their flows are tight and they are as harsh as a 70mph sandstorm whipping in your face. The group dynamics this album is built on is what truly makes the album worthwhile to listen to and is reminiscent of the posses of older 90s hip hop albums such as Wu Tang.

As a recommendation I can say the Sandpeople, while being very good at what they do, are not for everyone. This does not bother me, but it seems like the group could be very hit or miss with listeners. However, the Sandpeople have carved out their own unique niche in hip hop that spans across many boundaries. Their production is clean enough to be mainstream, but their active posse cuts can still appeal underground hip hop fans. Their lyrical topics range from drugs, suicide, money and even to the metaphysical side of life focusing on questions of death. The strangest part of the Sandpeople is the fascinating backup vocals that crop up into their production. These vocals paint vivid imagery of wind combed dunes and even remind me of a Tim Burton soundtrack. On the final track “Dapper Mob” the Sandpeople show their true uniqueness with a twisted anthem that contains only singing and reminds me of Nightmare Before Christmas with its comical harmonies overlayed with morbid imagery.

To pass on the opportunity to hear Long Story, Short… would be depriving yourself of a unique experience in hip hop. The Sandpeople carry the Northwest torch by having consistent, tight production that is common to the region (Blue Scholars, Theory Hazit, Omega Watts, etc), and they also maintain a level of uniqueness which sets themselves apart. The only downfall to this cultic organization is that their lyrics get dry as the desert dunes by continually rhyming about how dope they are. Eventually they move on to different topics on the album, but not until 4 tracks in do they reach a plateau of depth that will satisfy the listener and show the Sandpeople’s full potential.

Stir up the sands, and let the Sandpeople be an oasis to relax by and enjoy a unique experience in hip hop. - Pot Holes In My Blog

"Sandpeople To Release Long Story, Short... "

(April 29, 2009 - Brooklyn, NY) Sandpeople, a ten member collective from the Pacific Northwest, is proud to announce the release of their new studio EP, Long Story, Short... available May 26, 2009 via Sandpeople Music.

The Juice Crew; Wu-Tang Clan; Native Tongues; these names conjure memories of a time when hip-hop collectives reigned dominant. Comprising 10 members in total, each with unique styles and abilities, Sandpeople is working tirelessly to solidify the importance of the hip-hop crew once more. Ethic, a rapper and one tenth of the group says, "The collective is not something you see too much of anymore; it's a unique group structure. Being from the Pacific Northwest puts us at a disadvantage, but being a crew adds a dynamic and cohesive element to what we're doing that helps us stand out amongst the crowd." With the release of Long Story, Short..., the group's cohesive sound at once harkens back to the crew aesthetic of the past while carrying the torch for the potential of the future.

For Long Story, Short..., operating entirely in-house, including recording and mixing, allowed the EP's creation process an organic feel, while remaining streamlined and efficient. That process begins with Sandpeople producer, rapper, and multi-instrumentalist, Sapient, whose diverse production is on display throughout the EP. The rappers in the crew, each with a unique style, choose the beats they want to work with, brainstorm concepts, and self-select to decide who will fit the song style and concept for each song. The result of this tried-and-true process for Sandpeople is a stellar nine track EP, including the album's lead single, "Hate Aside," which the collective will be shooting a video for in the near future.

Since the 2005 release of Sandpeople's debut album, Points of View, the group has seen a growth not only in their own numbers, but also in their rate of musical output. The Sandpeople collective comprises several sub-groups, each recording and releasing their own respective works in conjunction with the group projects, expanding the Sandpeople catalog and stretching the reach of their music from Japan to Australia and throughout the United States. Among the ten artists who comprise the Sandpeople is Illmaculate, a Portland native who has accumulated numerous accolades for his rapping abilities, including being crowned champion of the 2004 Scribble Jam rap battle at the age of 17. Along with the group's producer Sapient, who has garnered recognition from his work with artists such as Tech N9ne, Inspectah Deck, and Aesop Rock, Sandpeople have the firepower to put on a great show and to make great music.
- Audible Treats

"Sandpeople Release Long Story, Short's First Official Video, "Hate Aside""

With the success and acclaim of their recently released EP, Long Story, Short..., still bubbling, Portland's Sandpeople continue working, and have now released the EP's first official video, "Hate Aside." After teasing us with behind the scenes footage some time ago, the video brings the EP's lead single to life, weaving the tale of a mystery package, passed from one crew member to the next, interspersed with shots of the crew doing what they do best - rapping their asses off. Sandpeople's latest release, the Long Story, Short... EP is available now via Sandpeople Music.

The video, directed by up and comer Christian Hansen, is up for MTVU's The Freshmen Contest. Starting today, until Friday at 2pm, fans can vote for "Hate Aside" as many times as they want. If "Hate Aside" beats out the competitors, the video will be placed in permanent rotation on MTVu. - Audible Treats

"Sandpeople Embark On Long Story, Short... Tour"

Portland's Sandpeople are preparing for a three-week, ten-stop tour throughout various west-coast and mountain states to promote their upcoming EP release Long Story, Short... due out May 26th on self-managed record label Sandpeople Music.

The tour will begin in Bellingham, Washington on April 23rd, move across the north into Montana and down through Colorado and Arizona, and then heads west for three stops in California, wrapping up in Sacramento on May, 15th. Of the ten-person collective, five notable members will embark on this tour; Gold, iame, OnlyOne, illmaculate, and DJ Spark. Group member Ethic says of the upcoming tour, "The Long Story, Short... tour is a welcomed road trip after taking some time off to record. We expect to see plenty of familiar faces that we met on the Child Support Tour with Luckyiam, and likely lose a liver or two in the process. This EP is one of the best projects to come out of our camp, and we're stoked to see it finally ready for release."

Sandpeople formed in 2005 in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., and have since established their base in Portland, Oregon. Since the release of their debut album Points of View that same year, Sandpeople have seen a growth not only in their own numbers, but in their ability to make music. Among the ten artists who comprise the Sandpeople group, one of the most notable members is ILLmaculate, a Portland-grown emcee who has accumulated numerous accolades for his rapping abilities. At the age of 17, he was crowned champion of the 2004 Scribble Jam rap battle competition in Cincinnati, Ohio, and along with partner TheSaurus also won the 2006 and 2007 World Rap Championships hosted by JumpOff.TV. Along with the group's producer Sapient, who has garnered recognition from his work with artists such as Tech N9ne, Inspectah Deck and Aesop Rock, Sandpeople have the firepower to put on a great show and to make great music.

Tour Dates:

Thurs-April 30 Bozeman, MT - The Zebra Cocktail Lounge
Fri-May 1 Boulder, CO - The Root Underground
Sat-May 2 Denver, CO - Marquis Theater w/ Mr. Lif
Tues-May 5 Phoenix, AZ - The Low Leaf
Wed-May 6 Yuma, AZ - Open Aired
Thurs-May 7 San Diego/Carlsbad, CA Boar Cross'n
Fri-May 8 Los Angeles, CA The Alterknit Lounge (Knitting Factory)
Sun-May 10 Bakersfield, CA Fishlips
Tues-May 12 San Francisco, CA Etiquette Lounge
- Audible Treats

"Clockwerk "Due Yesterday""

Clockwerk, consisting of Gold and iAMe, bring hip hop from northwestern America to your headphones. To color in a picture of what to expect of NW hip-hop, think of another region that’s never really been on the hip-hop map, the Midwest (i.e. Rhymesayers). Clockwerk provides a distinct and exciting new flavor with a northwestern slant. The wide array of unique beats coupled with the intelligent lyricism Clockwerk provides assures an album that demands replay.

The production on Due Yesterday, is one of the strongest suits of the album. Each tracks lays down a different feel, allowing Clockwerk to display their talents to a backdrop of fresh sounding beats (see “Coo Coo (It’s Time) and “Just Like a Drug”). The mixture of classical music interlaced with a steady beats can often times be done poorly; however, Due Yesterday is able to escape this and masterfully pulls it off on tracks like “Impossible.” Lyrically, Clockwerks gets personal by providing anecdotes, and then backing up the stories with self-reflection. The overall effect draws listeners into the tracks due to this personal nature.

One of the only flaws on Due Yesterday is the similar sound to other artists such as Atmosphere or other Midwest artists. This is not to say that Clockwerk simply copies the styles of others. Instead, he helps evolve this sound by taking to another level on tracks such as “Could Get Better” or “Coo Coo (It’s Time).” However, unfortunately these songs are not the majority of the tracks on this record.

Overall Due Yesterday is a very solid album and is definitely worth listening to. The combination of the production work and the intelligent lyricism of Clockwerk isn’t something that comes along very often. However, whether Clockwerk will be able to push the envelope and continue evolving the Northwestern sound will have to be seen on later releases - Andrew Hsu for

"Groundlift magazine"

Clockwerk, a duo of the northwest MCs Gold and iAMe from the Sandpeople crew, presents a collection of eighteen of their tracks from the last two years on Due Yesterday. Clockwerk rhymes over a wide variety of beats, and on a wide variety of topics, on this very interesting album. Clockwerk is at turns hilarious and profound, self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating, elevated and base. The most telling—and perhaps the best—track on Due Yesterday is "Timeless." Its sampled intro explains,

"It's about to change. Machines are making most of the music now. Have you noticed that all the songs sound the same? I mean I don't know if you've noticed that. I mean you could be hearing one song, I mean you could take the lyrics from another song and put it right on to, uh... the machines can only do so much."

The sentiment of the above quote is one embraced and explicated by Theodor Adorno, a famous German Marxist philosopher and musicologist, and coiner of the term "culture industry." Adorno and his school believed that popular music consists merely of easily replicable, interchangeable parts. By listening to popular music, Adorno would argue, the masses become pacified and docile thanks to the pleasantness and diversion that pop music provides. (Adorno instead advocated "high art" such as classical music.) Clearly, this argument derides hip-hop, stripping the genre of its poetry and political potential. But Clockwerk's album specifically seeks to overturn Adorno and restore hip-hop's meaning, and they succeed.

For starters, Clockwerk aren't "machines" making music. Their common themes of fast food, cigarettes, and beer make them very relatable (at least to this reviewer). "I try and exist with a diet consisting mainly of fast food and nicotine / Pabst Blue and sticky green," goes "Something to See." On "Coo Coo (It's Time)," guest MC Peegee 13 raps, "I circumnavigate the block... ready for action as soon as we finish our beers." Human, all too human.

Second, Gold and iAMe are not ones for passivity, or pacifism. "The Price Isn't Right," one of a few political tracks on Due Yesterday, takes shots at the president and the Patriot Act. "I find myself sportin' this camo, high gravity situation / pacin' forth and back, yo I dance with the issues." And on "World War Now," with guest iLLmaculate, 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina are dealt with eloquently:

"They got a home team playin' away games, And when the hurricane came it proved which links to be the weakest, Like National Guard, 'Where you at? What nation you guardin', Iraq?' Little that do us when terrorists launch an attack."

Finally, the elements of Clockwerk's music are not just interchangeable parts, as Adorno may have us believe. Clockwerk's beats are well-chosen, and serve their verses quite well. The frenetic, disconcerting beat underscores the threat of a government Big Brother on "The Price Isn't Right." The heavy, driving beat under "Timeless" highlights that track's determination, and Clockwerk's determination to "make them timeless gems you play time and again."

Due Yesterday is not an album without faults, but it is undoubtedly an album worth hearing. It is an album with heart, and strong evidence against critics of hip-hop, the Adornos of the world. Impressively, Due Yesterday is just a prelude to Clockwerk's official debut Some Tomorrow, due out late this year. Stay tuned. - Oliver Roeder

"Debaser: Crown Control"

The two-man crew has been a standard in Hip-Hop since the Funky Four + 1 disbanded and the Double Trouble got immortalized swapping verses on a stoop in Charlie Ahern's tome Wild Style. Like the best wrestling tag teams (big up L.O.D.), two MCs in synergy create a force much bigger than the individual components. Case in point—did anyone actually hear (let alone vibe to) the E-double-E and Parrish Smith's solo joints? A duo can also cover each other's weaknesses at the same time they play to their collective strengths. Coming in with a 21st century version of the classic pairs of yesteryear, the Oregon-based crew Debaser (of the Sand People crew) have come through with a refreshing, cinematic, complete product with their full-length "Crown Control" (and coming in at over 70 minutes, it truly is full). Driven largely by Sapient's lush production, ripped apart by both Ethic's and his verbal gymnastics, the album combines the dusted boom-bap of "authentic" Hip-Hip with an unflinching willingness to push boundaries. It is wholly modern, respecting the foundations but not being confined by them. Aside from all its theoretical importance, however, "Crown Control" is first and foremost a dope product. So despite the disheartening slow melt of Outkast, the Hip-Hop duo is still vital, alive and well.

The boardwork is really what sets "Crowd Control" apart. Haunting and full, with interesting flourishes creeping in and out unassumingly and tempo changes breaking unexpectedly, the sonic blueprint is like a pleasant roller coaster ride full of epic choruses and RJD2-like waves of momentum. Sapient is not afraid to use unconventional instruments and somehow make them feel naturally Hip-Hop (think J-Zone's accordions), as well as classic manipulations (check the sledgehammer guitar on the posse cut "Stem," which recalls Rick Rubin's best work) and modern techniques that sound timeless in the best sense (DJ-friendly scratches abound throughout the album). Most of the tracks employ a variation on a mid-tempo beat with funk hammer reverberations. The end result showcases an increasingly rare product: the art of the full-length in the age of the I-pod, where each song is good, but together they are great. And when's the last time you listened to a 20-track Hip-Hop album without skipping at least a few tracks? Yes, there is the obligatory rap skit (appropriately but sterilely titled, yep, "Skit"), but thankfully it's only about a minute and is actually amusing the first few listens.

Lyrically, the two-man crew are both able-tongued and justifiably confident, not trying too hard to impress us with intricate technique or breath control but nonetheless able to take it there if need be, sounding rapid-fire darts without Kweli-like enjambment. It is the mark of seasoned pros with immaculate flows that produces verses like this one found on "Longlive":

"I'm bordering between genius and pervert
These MCs are pussies hiding under their girl's skirts
Work 'til these words work to actually further
The state of Hip-Hop 'til I inevitably burn her
Rap 'til my nerves hurt
Smoke herb first
Tap into the zone that acts as a surfer
Cap into the tome
and raps just been murdered
By cash glitter and chrome
I laugh at the nursery talent
Collapse every person we challenge
Consider me a threat from long range like Ray Allen"

In most verses (except a few competent attempts at narratives), the subject revolves loosely around mic skills, but unlike most "underground" rap, they don't show us what quality Hip-Hop is by complaining about what it shouldn't be but has become (complaining about mainstream rap is so 2003). On display instead is water-tight technique, plenty of clever turns of phrase and talent oozing out onto the beat. And though their sentiment isn't exactly breaking new ground conceptually, the craftsmanship and focus of each song makes them fresh and entertaining. Their flows wouldn't be labeled overly smooth, as the sheer exactitude of each syllable usually sacrifices funkiness for precision, but the beats practically beg to be rapped in, not over or around, so the deliberate articulation works effectively both sonically and thematically (as each word, even syllable, is seen to have been consciously chosen).

And now for the criticisms, however trifling. One: the welcome guests artists (Opio of Souls of Mischief fame and Grayskul especially) have an annoying tendency of stealing the show with verses even hotter than Debaser's, spitting (appropriately) like they only have 16 bars to kill such lush production. Two: a handful of choruses are delivered with a cutesy off-tune falsetto popularized by 50 Cent and his ilk. Three: the uncomfortable misogyny on "Sugar and Spice," without a counterweight extolling the virtues of quality females, sounds lopsided and unjust to the fairer sex. Four: the anti-climactic album closer "Thomas" is an interesting but ultimately cliché character study delivered in an Eminem-like singsong, without any flows to save it from total throwaway status. Looking past those problems (and those four are really the only things I can find wrong with this project), one realizes that Debaser is the real deal: a Hip-Hop group embedded in yet also transcending the current standards of the genre, concerned not so much with bringing it back as with moving it along. All hail the crown.

Music Vibes: 9.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10 - Jordan Selbo for

"Debaser: Crown Control (Australian review)"

Time to meet Debaser, A US based crew that define themselves as somewhere between a genius and a pervert. If you already got your stereo set to bass heavy, then just sit back and take a ride with Debaser.

When you sit down to write a review, you can be very critical and analytical of the flow and make up of a album and Debaser have broken most of the rules in which I follow to rate an album.

The style and flow of the album is very broken, which, in the case of Debaser is very necessary. Anyone who is hoping for a few tracks to bop along to in the car can stop reading and those who are up for a mix of flavours thrown together in an Obese mega shake then lick your lips and get ready for this. The opening track, 'Crown Control', will leave you with flavours of Kool Keith, that will then spread to beats that would possibly come about if you tried to remix 'Roots Manuva' with 'The Streets'. Some of the beats on the album will take you to a place in an eiry forest but when Opio, of 'Souls of Mischief' fame lands on the track 'How its Made' you will be taken aback to hip hop in it’s original flavour with a combination of inventive beats, scratches and tight lyrics.

This album reflects a continuous work over time for Debaser and with 40 tracks originally made for this release, cut back to the 20 that feature on the album, it reflects an album not rushed to get something out there, but rather a work in progress that wasn't released till those involved were entirely satisfied with what they had created. Although many of the rhymes and sounds on the album are created with a serious feel, they manage to lighten up the mood and appeal to a broader audience with tracks like 'Sugar & Spice' which is a rather humorous reflection of ladies that emcees Ethic and Sapient have met in their nights on the road in America.

All in all a solid release from one of the Obese crews American counterparts that will grow on you as each track has its own character and flavour that remains fresh of this epic twenty track debut album.

Crown Control is out now through Obese Records.


PokitPal - Pokitpal (Australian-based Website)

"Debaser: Crown Control (Platform 8470 review)"

Crown Control
Sandpeoplemusic | 2006

You may know the Sandpeople, one of those promising crews who contribute to the lively and oh so talented Portland scene. They formed only a few years ago and already released two albums. This time, two members of the gang, Ethic and Sapient, bundled forces as the group Debaser and serve up a mix of fresh, broad-minded hip-hop with a surprisingly vintage sound of keyboards, guitars, strings and constructive basslines.

On top of that, they managed to get underground vets such as Opio (Hieroglyphics), Luckyiam.PSC (Living Legends), Grayskull and Sleep of Oldominion on the album, and really, it will probably improve the sales, but had they not been on the album, it’d be nice as well. Because both producer Sapient and MC Ethic feel each other quite well and both the mc’s voice and the producer’s style are well in tune. Sapient addin a darker side to the beats, while Ethic spits venomous with a rigid, various flow that holds a certain anger but at the same time a lot of confidence.

Appealing are the different vibes that are enhanced. The title track 'Crown Control' sounds melancholic, 'Look What…' sounds very uplifting while the hypnotic bassline on the fantastic 'LongLive' (feat Illmaculate) has a certain heroic rawness 'These MC’s are pussy’s hiding under their girls’ skirts'. 'Less Human' has this dark edge and sounds almost medieval, atmospheric, and fairytale-like. More highlights are 'Rapper Advancement', 'Nothing But Silence' (with Grayskul), 'Dead Lines', 'Sugar And Spice' and the song with Luckyiam ('Trains Of Thought'). What we’re not really feeling is the heavy guitars on 'Stem' and the creamy, poppy 'Thomas', where Linkin Park comes peeping around the corner.

Nevertheless this project definitely has its own, distinctive sound and that’s pretty remarkable considered the fact that a lot of today’s acts sound very alike, even on the roaring underground. The lyrics are good, the production is great and show the craftsmanship of the Sandpeople crew. -

"Debaser: Crown Control (Groove-on AUS)"

Debaser – Crown Control
Hip Hop Album
Fri, 20 October 2006

Debaser – Crown Control

Debaser consists of MC’s Ethic and Sapient, who are members of the underground crew Sandpeople (based in the north-west of the USA), and the boys have dropped their debut release as a duo, Crown Control via our own Obese Records.

Ethic is already fairly well known in the Australian scene via his work with the Battletown crew, Pegz, Weapon X & Ken Hell and even on Chopper’s album, while Sapient is an accomplished graf writer and producer, along with his skills on the mic. Together they make a dope team and Crown Control is a great debut effort.

Over forty songs were recorded for this LP, and twenty of the choicest joints made the cut. This record is straight up Hip Hop to the core, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. All cuts were produced by Sapient, who demonstrates his skills on the boards as he moves from bonafied head-nodder, to melodic slow jams, to the off-kilter, obscure joints.

Highlights include the neck-snappin’ title track, “Longlive” with battle MC extraordinaire Illmaculate, booming single “How It’s Made” featuring Opio from Soul’s Of Mischief, the body movin’ “Left Behind”, and the schizophrenic “Stem” with the Sandpeople crew and Step Cousins.

Two of the best moments here are in the form of “Sugar And Spice (A Song About Girls)”, a filthy escapade into the minds of Ethic and Sapient and their tongue-in-cheek masochistic thoughts (“Shit and warm lubricant/ Lee press-on nails and computer chips/ Vinegar, clam chowder and tuna fish – that’s what girls are made of…” the hook smoothly states). But the standout cut would definitely be the album closer, “Thomas”, where Sapient goes solo and does his best Eminem on “Hailie’s Song”, and comes off dope as fuck. The track talks about a boy’s descent into addiction and following his father’s footsteps over kiddie-sounding chimes, and this is a fresh example of where these cats are taking their music, and Hip Hop in general.

Debaser have dropped one of the finest underground Hip Hop LP’s of the year in my humble opinion (I keep saying ‘underground’ as there’s little chance this will receive mainstream airplay in the US, or Down Under for that matter), in the form of Crown Control. I’m now keen as hell to hear whatever else the Sandpeople have in store. Cop that.

(Obese Records)

-Cee-For. - Cee-For (

"Sandpeople: All in Vain"

How do you make a clever, intelligent rhyme blend and move with some of the slickest, thickest, bounciest grooves in the game? Let Sandpeople demonstrate. Hailing from the Rose City, Portland, their integration of west coast chill, combined with creative sampling like styles from 70's pop to psychjazz, makes for one helluva 19-track album. Without selling out and without compensating their own voice, their own vision, they draw from the likes of Aesop Rock, Atmosphere and Definitive Jux. Some of the freshest alt hip hop we got. - CDBABY

"Sandpeople: All in Vain SANDPEOPLE RECORDS"

The Sandpeople have Wu-Tang type numbers. I count ten on the inside liner notes, and their website confirms that. This type of group is difficult to get a feel for because of their sheer size. Even over the span of their full-length "All in Vain" and its expansive nineteen tracks, creating an individual identity for such a crowd would be mighty difficult. A musical foundation is necessary, which is what Simple provides by producing most of the album. Beyond that, with such an enormous cast to satisfy, a verbal free-for-all is the only solution.

The most initially noticeable piece to this puzzle is the moody, crisp production. "Fiddler on the Roof," whose beat is credited to Sapient, is a scowling quiet storm of soft instruments, permitting the rappers to reveal their inner workings with little prodding. The hook could easily act as Sandpeople's mission statement, claiming that "If I were a rich man, I'd get put down the fiddle and get off this fucking roof." Mo-B steals the vocal side of things with an emotive and contained fury that is nearly haunting over such an ominous beat. "Whetstone" features an immaculate loop from Simple that is far less complicated, but this relative minimalism does not affect the song's success. "Same Way" takes a more mechanized route, and the result is disappointing. Simple and friends have etched a defined and unified album, and when a track breaks from this formula it sounds uncomfortable.

Although the fenced-in musical themes are comforting, they grow stale in places. Even when a later song meets expectations, it is not quite as fresh because of such previous songs. There is a pleasant variety of sounds being used, but Simple consistently evokes the same contemplative atmosphere, and this is difficult to successfully sustain for an entire record. Additionally, because this mood is so prevalent, I feel like some of the emcees are shadows in the production's sedated frustration, which creates the feel of a haunted house in daylight. By the middle of the record, the effect of a gorgeous beat such as "Can't Let Go" is lessened by its similarities to the surroundings. Consistency is always a plus, but there is a little too much of it here.

I'm usually inclined to gripe about a nineteen track LP, but "All in Vain" is an exception. The crew involved is extensive, so in order to provide everyone their shine, nineteen full songs is much more easily excusable. Still, the individual rappers all sound quite similar. There are no outstanding personalities and they all rely on natural, traditional flows. Subject matter is never boring with the Sandpeople, though they share a tendency to fall on the abstract side of the fence. There are somewhat vague conceptual outlines for most songs, with the occasional track that shows remarkable ambition. "Absence" is the best example of this, because Sapien narrates the life of a woman whose husband is rarely home. Simple then explains his perspective as a driven artist who doesn't always have time for family. For the most part, since so many perspectives are brought together, the album's messages are jumbled, but this is probably better than the alternative of making their intentions obvious to the listener.

There is a lot to absorb on "All in Vain," so here's all you need to know. This is a good record, highlighted by an intriguing style of production and a constant barrage of an entire crew of rappers. It's not exceptional, but it is more than a worthy way to pass the time. As with any album of this length, there will be something you will want to skip, but the majority is worth listening to. - Tom Dogget for


Points of View (Sandpeople) - 2004
All in Vain (Sandpeople) - 2005
Noise Complaints (Iame) - 2005
The Hate (Mo-B & Only One) - 2005
Tied To Things (Simple) - 2005
Crown Control (Debaser) - 2006
Armed & Hammered (Bad Neighbors) - 2006
The One & Only (Al-One & Only One) - 2006
The City Sleeps (Sandpeople Japanese exclusive) - 2006
Due Yesterday (Clockwerk)-2007 SHW recordings
B-Sides Vol. 1 (Sandpeople) 2007
Raincheck Mixtape-(Illmaculate) 2007
Honest-Racket- (Sandpeople) 2007
Mini Van Halen (DJ Spark)
Letterhead - (Sapient ) 2008
B-Sides Vol. 2 (Sandpeople) 2009
Police Brutality (illmaculate & OnlyOne) 2009
Long Story Short -EP (Sandpeople) 2009
Make More (Sapient) 2009
I Am My Enemy (IAME) 2009
Make Morphine (Sapient) 2009
Back To Work (Debaser) 2009
Famine Friends (Sapient) 2009
Peerless (Debaser) 2010
Lightfighter (IAME) 2010
Barrels & Feathers (Sapient) 2010
Chron (OnlyOne)
Green Tape (illmaculate)
Lame (IAME) 2011
Talk of the Town EP (Al-One) 2011
Sandpeople Music Presents OnlyOne (OnlyOne) 2011
Eaters Volume 1: Tusks (Sapient) 2011
Chainsmoke (Goldini Bagwell)
Skrill Walton (illmaculate)
Gunwings (Sapient)



Sandpeople was formed roughly 5 years ago as an unlikely
gathering of hip-hop artists in the Pacific Northwest. The crew that now calls Portland, Oregon home has evolved into a 10-member unit fully equipped to fill a stage and empty a keg (preferably in reverse order). In their early stages, founding member Mo-B assembled a crew of eight members who were all carving out their own respective niches as solo artists, which included Illmaculate, OnlyOne, Goldini Bagwell, iame, Al-One, Simple, and DJ Spark. When Mo-B then moved down to Eugene, Oregon for college, he became impressed with the work ethic and skills of a rapper who had previously had considerable success in Australia named Ethic and a rapper/producer named Sapient. Soon, Ethic and Sapient spent the next two months doing “power weekends,” leaving Eugene after work on Friday to drive two hours north to Portland and then driving back down the following Monday morning just in time for work so they could a full weekend with the rest of the crew at Simple’s home studio.

In their formative years, Simple’s house became the creative think tank where all members worked around-the-clock on new projects, sharpening their skills and collectively honing their craft. Within the first two months of “power weekending,” Sandpeople created and self-released their debut album, Points of View, which was recorded over a two-week span. The album gained a cult-like following and spread virally along the west coast and the underground hip-hop scene.

Points of View, which was only for sale at CD Baby and iTunes, quickly grabbed the attention of music fans everywhere; people started burning CD’s and passing them to friends, and they even discovered that someone in LA was selling a compilation made up of his favorite Sandpeople tracks called Sandtrap. Eventually, industry people in LA picked up on Sandpeoples’ buzz, which led to a yearlong courtship by Epic Records in 2005. “The whole experience was crazy and a proved to be a very valuable lesson for us,” remembers rapper Ethic. “I remember two funny things – Epic Records flew a producer up to Portland to work on our demo. At the time, he was dating a girl who would eventually be in Danity Kane and she sang on one of our hooks. Later we saw them break up on the show, which was kinda weird,” he says lightheartedly. “The other amusing thing was that our A&R guy from Epic was juggling two projects at the same time – one was us and the other was The Fray. Boy, we got the short end of that stick,” says Ethic with a laugh.

Sandpeople used their experience and valuable lessons learned from the Epic Records courtship to step up their hustle. In addition to learning how the business worked, the crew worked to improve their song writing. They evolved from being rappers who had fun recording all weekend long to finish as many as six songs to focusing on perfecting just two songs. “We concentrated on increasing our quality, as opposed to quantity,” says Ethic. He continues, “The dream became more attainable to us. We felt like we were on the same level of people we had previously looked up to and changed our level of professionalism accordingly.”

The groups' appeal has grown immensely amongst industry players and fans alike because of the recent success of a few key members of Sandpeople. After winning the world-renowned battle at Scribble Jam in 2004, rapper Illmaculate went on to win back-to-back titles in the internationally recognized World Rap Championships hosted by Jumpoff .TV. He has since gained exposure through Comcast On-Demand, XXL Magazine and was named one of Vibe Magazine’s top 50 rappers on MySpace.

The crew’s producer Sapient has also made a name for himself. His signature sound is quickly gaining him a national reputation as one of the best up-and-coming talents on the independent hip-hop scene. He has produced tracks featuring: Tech N9ne, Inspectah Deck (Wu-Tang Clan), Slug (Atmosphere), Aesop Rock, Sean Price (Boot Camp Clik), and The Grouch (Living Legends), just to name a few.

Sandpeople’s newest effort, the aptly titled EP Long Story, Short..., is the product of the insight gained from their major label courtship and their deeply ingrained work ethic and self-imposed high standards. The result of such motivation is an ironclad project that walks the fine line of being both accessible and impressive, while ensuring the emcee’s talents and numbers are on full display. With concepts ranging from the struggles of being self-funded ("Money is on Their Minds") to overcoming the adversity of a hypercompetitive indie hip-hop scene ("Hate Aside"), Sandpeople manage to carve their diverse personalities into the inherently brief EP format. From boasting a fierce introduction of back-to-back verses on the lead track "Strands"

Band Members