I’ve been a fan of Sage Francis for a number of years now. The first time I heard his raps was sometime around the fall of 99. I was living in Bryan Texas, this shit town in central Texas. All I owned was my 89 crx, a desk, TV, bag of clothes, couple crates of music and a compaq computer my pops bought in 94. I had blown up my stereo years ago so the computer was all I had to hear music. My broke ass couldn’t afford to buy too many cds but my 33k modem sure as fuck could download them. On the weekends I’d make trips to Austin and spend what little money I had to buy some of music I was downloading. I was trading mp3’s with this kid from Rochester NY and he told me about this rapper from Rhode Island that I should peep by the name of Sage Francis. I remember thinking what in the fuck kind of name is that? That ain’t a rap name but whatever I went ahead and downloaded some shit. I don’t remember what the first song of his I heard but I was blown away and had to find more of his music.
What I like about Sage is that he’s so fucking good with the wordplay and his references. I’m constantly listening to his music and picking up something new I didn’t catch the last time. It makes his music just that more interesting and it doesn’t get old for me because the songs take on new meanings each time I catch something. Oh and what’s great about his clever wordplay is that he’s actually goddamn hilarious. He is also dope at just flipping words but thing is that he does it in a way that it doesn’t feel forced. And unlike other underground hiphop rappers Sage doesn’t come off the like the type that uses big words just for the sake of impressing you with his glossarycock. He’s not doing these things just to impress the listener with how fucking lyrical he is. Lyrical bullshit is what has ruined most of underground hiphop. You get a bunch of dumbass kids trying to flex their lyrical pocketknives when they can’t even rap about anything that you might actually give a fuck about hearing. Being able to use five syllable rhymes isn’t enough make you dope. Lyrics are important but so is not making yourself sound like a mountain climber who plays an electric guitar but you don’t know the meaning of dope.
So yeah anyways, I like Sage Francis and this halfass post is going to be biased because I’m a fan. He has signed with Epitaph and his new album is going to be released on February 8th. I don’t really know how this shit going sell. I mean I know it will sell way more than all his other album but is Sage going to be on MTV? I don’t think he’ll be on some TRL status but it’s still weird to think that dude is on at that level now. I think the record is dope but I don’t really know what people who don’t know of Sage will think of it. I’ve heard about him getting play on kroq and shit which is cute even though I’d prefer to hear him on standard rap stations. Blah whatever though, I should probably say something about the goddamn record.
Sage has a shitload of producers on this shit. He’s gotten beats from a number of talented producers such as Alias, DangerMouse, Daddy Kev, Sixtoo, Controller 7, and Joey Beats. He’s also got some lesser known producers like Reanimator(brings the fucking heat) and Varick Pyr. Varick surprised the shit out of me, this is the same guy who use to post on anticon’s messageboard years ago and I fronted on that motherfucker so hard. I couldn’t stand his shit but now he has produced Bridle for Sage and I have to admit that it’s dope, the boy has skills. The beat is mostly based around this cutesy piano sample that just carries the beat. It’s a short song with Sage trying to hold a womans reins but it’s nothing like that sweet old song.
But yeah back to Reanimator, the album opens with a song he produced titled Buzz Kill. It starts building kind of slow but then the beat changes up and just smacks your face with Sage using some vocal affects to give his voice some distortion. I tend to have a soft spot for distorted effects like that. Some folks might not like that static in their ear but I can’t get enough of that shit. Maybe it’s from playing music too loud on blown speakers/headphones but that shit sounds great to me. Reanimator also produces Slow Down Ghandi which is Sage putting all you cutesy niave and overachieving activists in check. Remember that the ideals you have at age 15 are usually unrealistic as fuck. Oh yeah I’d advise you to peep Reanimator’s site just to hear his Slow Down Ghandi remix, dude straight took it some where else on some goddamn Egyptian lover steez.
Now the next song is Sea Lion with Will Oldham and produced by Alias. Pitchfork and them cutesy boys were all jocking this shit. I have to admit before I heard it I was thinking it was going to be some lame indie rockrap shit but it’s not and the two artists actually sound good together. Alias ends up contributing three beats and a half beats to the album (he adds guitars and drums to sixtoo’s beat). He drops some cute shit with “Escape Artist” which has Sage getting all fucking giggity-got the pops with his flow. DangerMouse produces one song on the album, “Gunz Yo,” which is Sage’s version of the symbolic gun theme that rappers like to do. The song reminds me of Lloyd Banks’ “On Fire.” The beat has a bunch of gun cocks and this bass that gives it a darker touch for some cutesy g-unit drama. Actually the main thing that makes me think of Banks’ song is Sage saying “I’m on fire” in chorus. If you think I’m talking out my ass so what but that’s what I hear when I’m listening to this song.
When I first heard that Daddy Kev was producing a Sage track I just about shit myself. Daddy Kev’s work Souldoubt is fucking badass. The way his beats fit Awol’s style is just so fucking dope so I was excited to hear how Sage would sound with him. I figured it had to be dope considering Sage’s gruff voice sounds kind of similar to that of AwolOne’s. Anyways Daddy Kev’s beat is for the song Dance Monkey which is one of the more aggressive tracks on the album with Daddy Kev coming at you with this beat that just stomps through you headphones. Sage raps about how he’s such a private dancer shaking his money maker because you need to decide whose music will you turn to when the bomb hits.
Sixtoo produces two tracks on the album, Crumble and Ground Control. Crumble rocks the same piano that was used for something else but because my piece of shit memory has fucking failed my ass again I can’t actually tell you what the goddamn song is and it’s annoying the shit out of me because it’s on the tip of my fucking tongue. Fuck song titles. Controller7 does the beat for Agony In Her Body and it’s sick. The beat starts out mostly being a bunch of percussion sounds with some tones for atmosphere but then around halfway through the track he drops some guitars to change it up and bring a little more urgency to the track. It’s a true thug love song. Play it next time you’re getting your domestic violence on.
Now most people will compare this album to Personal Journals but it is a different type of work. I think the style of beats are more consistent on this album where as on Personal Journals they were more diverse to fit whatever emotions and themes he was trying to convey. A Healthy Distrust is a much more aggressive album than Personal Journals. It’s a less intimate album that PJ’s was but I think as far as more people being able to relate to the ideas he’s presenting I think it works better than PJ’s did. It’s definitely going to fuck some shit up in this rap game and ruin some people’s wetdreams of what rap is suppose to sound like. Which is fucking great, fuck sticking to tradition just for the sake of keeping it real. Go buy this record because it’s will ruin your shit.
Buzz Kill Sea Lion feat Will Oldham, Saul Williams And Alias
I’m glad someone in the blogsphere is up on Sage francis. he may fall under that whole backpacker thing but he exceptional among that group