Sagely advice | Music Briefs | Indy Week
Pin It

Sagely advice 

Sticks and stones...

Three weeks ago on the Triangle-based hip-hop message board "The Front Lawn," one user posted a thread about Sage Francis, the heavy-handed Providence, R.I. emcee responsible for "Makeshift Patriot," one of the most compelling, vitriolic post-9/11 observations put to a beat. One Lawn member described the 27-year-old Francis as a " self-righteous, pompous, hypocritical and well-marketed asshole." One of the most evocative slams came from Knoxville, Tenn. emcee Science: "Like damn near every other corny underground fucker that tries to rap and spit about the need to 'keep hip hop real,' Sage Francis and rappers like him mostly appeal to people who know nothing of hip-hop really by EXPERIENCE ... just like ... most of Jay-Z's fans." In a way, Science is right: Sage Francis does very little for anyone honing their skills listening to classic gangsta or modern bling. Francis' most receptive fans are people who learned about hip-hop culture by listening to it with an outsider's fascination.

But the argument shouldn't be interpreted as a dis. Francis is--without argument--a top-tier emcee sporting a linguistic and cultural vocabulary worthy of envy. His turns-of-tongue and multi-level puns are uncanny, revealing a well-read, ultra-eloquent emcee with a need to tell the truth no matter the consequences, denunciations or dismissals. He is this decade's most honest rapper, complaining about relationship difficulties and a constantly bleeding polyp in his vocal chords while systematically analyzing corporate media, drug companies and genetic engineering.

Francis is a rare breed, an eclectic musical mind who understands Bob Dylan and Neil Young (he references Kent State and "Ohio") as much as Minor Threat, Black Flag and Public Enemy.

Hip hop is his vehicle of social change, not his avenue to ass and riches. "I Freedom Kiss the French for their political dissent," he spars on the opening track of A Healthy Distrust, his third full-length and first for California's punk rock bastion Epitaph Records.

He continues with a confrontational satisfaction and a nod to Public Enemy's "How to Kill a Radio Consultant": "Radio suckers never play this / scared shitless of dismissing Clear Channel playlists."

That's par for the course for Francis, who journeyed last year on his self-crafted Fuck Clear Channel Tour. That system-imploding mentality is exactly what makes Francis so threatening to conventional hip-hop heads but so appealing to those enamored with beats and disenfranchised with bling 'n' crunk.

Sage Francis headlines a massive hip-hop show including Atmosphere and Grayskul at Cat's Cradle on Saturday, March 19.

  • Sticks and stones...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Briefs



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Scotty, you sound like no one else. Who could rate you? …

by Mike Dillon on Hopscotch 2015: Make another move (bands to maybe miss this time) (Music Briefs)

Good list. I'm still a little bummed I am going to miss Pile + Mitski. But that disappointment is tempered …

by Roy B. on Hopscotch 2015: Gimme indie rock (back to basics) (Music Briefs)

Thank you for the mention! No, I am not kidding!

by Clang Quartet on Hopscotch 2015: Backyard finds (Locals to rediscover) (Music Briefs)

Sounds like someone is trying to get me upset. NOT GOING TO WORK. Looking forward to seeing all of you …

by Clang Quartet on Hopscotch 2015: Make another move (bands to maybe miss this time) (Music Briefs)

Yes, because if you're interested in seeing a noise set (Clang Quartet) you might want to check out a fun …

by Ryan M on Hopscotch 2015: Make another move (bands to maybe miss this time) (Music Briefs)

Comments

Scotty, you sound like no one else. Who could rate you? …

by Mike Dillon on Hopscotch 2015: Make another move (bands to maybe miss this time) (Music Briefs)

Good list. I'm still a little bummed I am going to miss Pile + Mitski. But that disappointment is tempered …

by Roy B. on Hopscotch 2015: Gimme indie rock (back to basics) (Music Briefs)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation