Introducing ‘Notes from Mr. Sandman‘ – a column slapping a spotlight on lyricists overlooked, under appreciated, or just plain criminally slept on. Or like a man named Nas once said, “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Enter Mr. Sandman with what y’all missed while chasing the REM dragon; Photo:

Y Society is a collaboration between Boston-based lyricist Insight and veteran D.C. producer Damu the Fudgemunk. Having already established themselves as formidable talents in the independent circuit, their union was a natural fit; both shared an affinity for golden-era hip-hop and both are students of the game. Those two simple commonalities bound them to one another, and resulted in some of the freshest, no-frills hip-hop of that era.

As a lyricist Insight has been shredding mics for years. The Boston rap scene is rich with talent, and it wasn’t unusual to see him running with lyricists like Edan and Mr. Lif. Holding court with lyricists of that caliber not only rubbed off on him, but nourished one of most creative and innovative scenes in rap. Insight is a forefather and you can hear the pride that he takes when he puts pen to pad.

On “Never Off (On & On)” Insight embraces the positive side of life. By keeping a sound perspective, never getting too high or low he’s able to take on life’s challenges head-on. It’s a methodology that has sustained him for years, and served as the foundation for his style: [LISTEN]

Damu’s contribution to hip-hop can not be overstated. He’s been a vet in the game for nearly a decade, and been one of the leading voices in the beat scene. He doesn’t over produce or ride trends, but rather builds intuitively and lets his vast knowledge of soul music be his guiding light. Producing for Y Society has only made him sharper as he’s learned to find a happy medium between saying what he needs to say on the production end while still giving the lyricist a proper stage to shine.

Y Society’s debut Travel At Your Own Pace is a gem. Raw and vibrant, a project that holds lyricism to a high standard. Damu and Insight have a natural chemistry and every song is a well crafted vision; born from a genuine appreciation for hip-hop culture. At the time rap was splintering off into different factions and the underground was getting plenty of shine. Y Society was right there repping the boom-bap and praising the forefathers every step of the way.

Setting the Example” is the album’s unofficial creed. Y Society took it upon themselves to advocate for rap culture, and instead of simply talking about it they practiced what they preached and led by example: [LISTEN]

Living up to the album’s namesake, Y Society wouldn’t release another project for 10 years. Their debut was a natural process and they didn’t want to disrupt the synergy. Each would go back to their respective solo ventures and develop their sounds even further. In the end, however, fans of Y Society would benefit from the time off.

Ears Hear Spears is a return to form for both Insight and Damu. As solo artists they are always pushing the gamut, but as Y Society they’re able to revisit their roots; embrace what it is that made them fall in love with hip-hop in the first place. Damu crafts solid boom-baps and Insight delves into his rhyme book full force. One overarching theme is the current state of not only rap but the world at large, where the masses are more involved in the artificial than the real.

Rather Unique” is Insight’s view on the state of the union. He’s describing the disenfranchisement and how he’s been able to steer clear. The entire album is full of these nuggets of wisdom, an internal journey that both him and Damu have embraced: [LISTEN]

Y Society reps the golden-era full hard. For many it may come across as nostalgic but they are keeping alive a timeless tradition. Dope beats, skillfully penned rhymes and a knack for catchy punchlines make them stalwarts. Scholars who understand that compelling lyrics and soulful beats will never go out of style.