This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Suckin' off each other's gats and pistols" - Sage Francis

You know, sometimes it really bums me out that people like Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark made color in issue as far hip-hop cred is concerned. Even Eminem, one of the best artists the genre has ever produced, constantly faced accusations of being a honky culture thief. Basically, we're bred to believe that white boys can't rap, and there's scant mainstream evidence to the contrary.

However, a brief scan of the underground presents a different picture. While not entirely 50/50 black/white, many white artists have found credibility in what is still widely considered "black" music (like, say, Slug, El-P, Aesop Rock, Ugly Duckling, or Rjd2), something which has never happened with above-ground hip-hop.

One of the best rappers of any color working today is Sage Francis. His hyperliterate, slam-poet persona is barely masked by the skills he honed on the battle rap circuit (he won the highly-touted Scribble Jam in 2000). He's evolved into an artist who is introspective and observant, but his musings are presented with the kind of intensity that you can only develop shutting down other rappers in front of raucous crowds.

While he's been bumming around the Rhode Island scene for coming on ten years now, he finally came into his own in 2004 with his best album to date, A Healthy Distrust. It was really his first conscious album, since all of his previous CDs were essentially collections of live tapes, freestyles, radio shows, and 12" singles. A Healthy Distrust is one of my favorite hip-hop albums of all time, and it captures Sage's odd mind. I can' t think of any other rap album that would feature Will Oldham or imagine a rap battle between the sun and moon. From the underground-eviscerating "Slow Down, Gandhi" to the heartbreaking "Bridle," from the introspective "Escape Artist" to the snide (and inexplicably threatening) "Dance Monkey," it's winners all the way through. Here's hoping his 2007 album Human the Death Dance is even better.


Post a Comment

<< Home