"Things have changed," says Boy Sand. "When people used to listen to Stevie Wonder, they actually appreciated it – they didn't say, 'I can do that too.' These days, when you put a rapper on the radio, everybody thinks they can do it. So they sell a lot of microphones and MPCs, but there's nothing special about what anyone is doing. For me it's about becoming a one-of-a-kind musical talent – the genuine article."

Sunday night, this genuine article swings through the Middle East with CunninLynguists on his first national tour ever (he's performed in Boston just once before). They picked the right opener; Boy Sand gets parties beyond started, and his dexterous feats are even more remarkable in person than they are on YouTube. It will be a test of his endurance, as he says he's cosmically connected to his birthplace, and gets homesick overseas and in long California stretches. But he's been a local star for long enough. One city simply can't hold Homeboy.

"I love New York," says Boy Sand. "Everybody has to understand that I'm bringing New York everywhere – spreading the gospel of what I know and love. The love for authentic hip-hop in Europe is great, but I don't think that cats over there love hip-hop more, like everybody says they do. They just don't understand it in the same way that people understand it here. What I say can be applied to a lot of people in a lot of different situations, but I'm really rapping about my brothers in New York City. This is the foundation. Always has been, and always will be."

HOMEBOY SANDMAN + CUNNINLYNGUISTS + TONEDEFF + BLUE SKY BLACK DEATH | The Middle East, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | May 1 @ 8 pm | $15 | 18+ | 617.864.3278

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