SAGE FRANCIS - A HEALTHY DISTRUST


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Album: A Healthy Distrust
Artist: Sage Francis
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Sage Francis probably doesn't like you. I'm not sure he likes many people. Which is funny, because I'm not really sure if I like this album. I'd never been a huge Sage Francis fan, he was always a little too extreme in the white nerd-rap spectrum. Almost more of a spoken word artist. But I was a huge fan of Hope, the album Sage and producer Joe Beats created under the name Non-Prophets. It was a well-produced album that featured Sage taking a simpler approach with his lyrics and showing off a deep appreciation for old school hip hop with many classic references.

But there's no simple approach to the lyrics on A Healthy Distrust, Sage's debut album on Punk label Epitaph. Sage is obviously a bright fellow, and a good writer, so he layers his songs with metaphors on top of metaphors and plenty of concept rhymes. And Sage isn't just being clever for the sake it, he's got plenty to say. He's condemning US politricks (The Buzz Kill, Slow Down Ghandi), shitting on the state of popular music (Dance Monkey), talking about painful relationships (Agony In Her Body, Bridle), and rap-singing an Everlastian lament for Johnny Cash (Jah Didn't Kill Johnny). There's some pretty heady stuff there, and in listening to it a couple times, I found the album gets a little heavy as it goes on. Sage drills you with the seriousness for 15 tracks, and can sound like he's rapping on top of a high horse, which can be hard to take at times.

The production matches Sage's style and is mostly solid. There's no real amazing tracks here, but there's nothing boring either. They are interesting enough to keep your ear and for Sage to get riled up to. Some notable underground producers are featured on this album: Dangermouse, Daddy Kev, Controller 7, and Truro NS native Sixtoo.

So what's my beef with this album? I guess it's mainly that Sage comes off angry and heavyhanded on pretty much every track (except for Jah Didn't Kill Johnny). If I'm feeling angry or depressed, this is a great album to listen to, otherwise it's not really a fun listen. But that doesn't mean it's a bad album and it may grow on me as I've been able to make much more sense out of it after a couple listens. If you like the nerd rap at all, I'd say you have to give this a listen.


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