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UR Chiacgo Magazine interview 7/27/03
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21602
UR Chiacgo Magazine interview 7/27/03  Reply with quote  

This interview was conducted by Pat Sisson.



1. Alright, boring question first? When did you start rapping? What were
the early influences?

I first started rapping in the 4th grade. Run DMC and the Fat Boys were big. Then LL Cool J, BDP, Rakim and Public Enemy. Public Enemy was HUGE. I appreciate what they gave all of us very much.

2. Most people don't see Providence as a hotbed of rapping and hip-hop.
How did your surroundings influence you and the Non-Prophets?

Our surroundings didn't influence us as much as they just gave us a condition to operate within. I mean, you're right...it is not a hotbed for hiphop. But there WAS hiphop. So we had an avenue to travel, but a lack of direction. We had to find our own way. Being stuck in-between Boston and NYC allowed us a lot of access to all the shit that was going on, but it also granted us an opportunity to operate outside of the box. There weren't many traditionalists breathing down our necks so we explored the parameters, but at the same time our hiphop is traditional by virtue of structure and respect for its origin.


3. Many of your tracks have laid-back, jazzy production. What kind of jazz
and what artists do you like the most, and why don't you go for more
electronic production?


I can't front, I am not a big jazz head. Thelonious Monk blows me away, but if I studied up on any of the jazz artists from that era I am sure they would all do me something special. I never really considered my tracks to be laid-back or jazzy. I just go for a more organic feel. I like instruments. I like my music to be played by instruments or SOUND like they were played by instruments. Originally. Electronic production is becoming all the rage these days and I'm sorry but that shit just does nothing for me. Nothing. In fact, I have a lot of friends in music who are leaning more in the "techy" direction and I just have to say "peace and good luck." I like rock and roll. I like blues. I like jazz. I like organic sounds.


4. I read that you were an on and off member of the Providence Spoken Word
team. What got you involved in that, and do you approach spoken word
differently then rapping?

Man, spoken word gave me an opportunity to SPEAK. haha. It gave me a venue to stand in front of a mic and talk to people. Sway them with words. I saw Patricia Smith perform spoken word at my school and she left me stunned. I was already rapping at the time so I had experience with performing in front of people. I was very comfortable on the mic. Now I had the opportunity to strip my words away from the beat and speak to people who may or may not be into hiphop...and let it work. My rap is much more structured into verse and rhyme scheme, which often dictates the kind of things you can say and how to say them. Not so much with spoken word. Spoken word is a big open field, and some people get too carried away with the freedom. They throw ALL structure aside and leave the audience with nothing to hold on to. I cherish the freedom and opportunities that spoken word gives me and I try to utilize it to everyone's advantage. That doesn't always mean I am going out for the big applause. Sometimes I want to perform something that makes them question me or themselves for the next couple of days. The performance and the words will just linger in their mind until they can make their final decision on whether they liked it or not.

5. You were a long time battling MC and won many awards for your skills. I
also read that you've haven't been doing that as much-why? What events or
realizations led you to not battle as much? Also-if you were to organize a
battle, what two rappers would you have square-off on center stage?

I don't believe that staying in the battle scene does anyone any good. Unless all you do in life is battle emcees. Personally, I have much bigger goals other than...battling emcees. Who am I to still be standing in front of a hungry 17 yr old kid, talking about having sex with his mommy while making him question his sexuality? Plus there's only so many times I can be called a faggot before I am forced to agree. In an organized battle I would like to challenge the top two selling rappers of any year and let it be shown on Channel 1 for all the homerooms to see.

6. Lots of your music, especially Personal Journals, deals with deep
self-introspection. Why do you think you tackle that subject matter more
than most rappers, who are concerned more times than not, with bragging and
boasting in their lyrics?

When it was time for me to write songs I would think about the things that were affecting me at the time. And I would consider what that subject meant to me. And then I would think about how it applied to everyone else. The core of all emotions and thoughts is universal, and if you dig deep enough you can tap into that. I did my best to touch on some very real subject matter and let everyone know I have experienced some shit. Just like a lot of them. It was that time of the season. I tackled that subject matter because there weren't many people doing it any justice.

7.You tour and travel quite a bit-how does that influence your lyrics and
song writing? Does that nomadic lifestyle give you an outsider looking in
approach?

I want to denounce touring due to the fact that I hate traveling so much and being away from home, but it helps me write. I write a LOT while I am on the road. However, most of that writing is incomplete and incoherent. When I come home I look it over and have to make sense of it. Seeing the world and the human condition as it exists in all familiar forms around the globe gives me a greater confidence in what I speak about. Because I am not coming from the angle of speculation, as I might if all I did was guess about people from the closet of my room. Truth is there for the taking. I saw a man and woman fucking on a staircase in Glasgow. When they were done they had a crowd gathered around them who offered an uncomfortable applause. The woman gave us a defiant middle finger and the man turned his face away in embarrassment. The whole moment was animalistic, beautiful and childish. Then they BOTH tripped and fell on their faces, making the moment turn from strange to horribly awkward. If I stare at anything long enough it does that.

8. You're famous for being a straight-edge, vegetarian rapper. What led
you to those lifestyle choices? Have you gotten some weird reactions from
rap fans because of it?

I am famous for that? God help me. I am not straight edge. I simply detest the socialization of any and all drugs. As for the vegetarian issue, meat repulses me. I know where meat comes from. I know the process that meat goes through before it reaches us. I know how it affects us. I don't need that. I am sorry if others do.


9. Personal Journals seems more like personal journeys to me sometimes-the
excellent rapping always delves into difficult questions, but sometimes asks
more questions than it matters. Do you feel that you might release another
album with similar subject matter?

My music will always have a personal edge to it. Perhaps not as much as on Personal Journals, but in retrospect I could have done a lot of it in a much more tasteful way.

10. Makeshift Patriot was a really amazing song. I was blown away-what
experiences led you to create that so soon after the event? You are a very
political rapper-what events/experiences helped you form your political
views, and are you yourself active in politics?

The human experience while living in America is what led me to write, record and release Makeshift Patriot one month after 9/11. It was meant to make people question their blind patriotism and the information we were being force fed by corporate owned media. I don't consider myself very political, although I guess that's the situation I have been forced into. My politics are simple. Keep your filthy claws out of the freedom and liberty that is owed to me by my nation. Allow me my natural born rights. When I see these things being tampered with, I make noise. The working man is too busy in his hamster wheel to recognize when he is being done wrong sometimes. Well...guess what...we're all being done wrong. We're all being lied to. Now what?


11. Generic ending question: what are your new plans-more touring, new
releases, new collaborations, etc?

The long awaited Non-Prophets album, HOPE, is going to be dropping on Wapr/Lex Records in October. It took a long time for this to happen, but it's finally a reality and I'm very excited to present this album to the public. I canceled my fall tour and rescheduled it for spring due to the fact that I want a couple months of NOTHING so I can write and record my Epitaph album. Other than that, Buck 65 and I were included on DJ Signify's "Sleep No More" album which looks to be coming out in January. At the moment, I am enjoying a lot private time with a special someone and trying to get some rest.
Post Sun Jul 27, 2003 10:42 am
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Tony@Beyond Space



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 576
 Reply with quote  

hahaha.. channel 1... i forgot all about that shit.
Post Sun Jul 27, 2003 2:31 pm
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tie-my-shoe



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 450
Location: university of virginia
 Reply with quote  

didn't you say you loved fantastic damage? that was pretty electronic sounding
Post Sun Jul 27, 2003 8:08 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21602
 Reply with quote  

true.

that is definitely an exception for me.
Post Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:56 pm
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dayslikethis



Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Posts: 9
Location: St. Paul, MN
Quick Straight Edge Question  Reply with quote  

In the interview printed above you say that you would not consider yourself straight edge. I have been a huge fan of your music for quite some time but was always under the impression that you supported the idea of a straight edge lifestyle, since there are numerous references to being drug and alcohol free in the album Personal Journalist. I was just wondering what your reasons are for distancing yourself from this specific movement?And even if you don't apply this label to yourself, just know that there are a lot of Edge kids, myself included, that really appreciate your music because of the drug free approach to hip-hop.
Post Mon Jul 28, 2003 10:49 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21602
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I used the term "straight edge" when I first learned about it in 1996.

I involved myself into the scene.

References to being staight edge have been made in my earlier work. Nothing past 1997 though.

I graciously bow out of that whole scene. It's not for me. Not the people. Not the way they act. Not the battles they choose to fight. Best of luck to the "straight edgers" out there. I have a XXX tattoo on my back and it signify's a very strong period in my life. I was filled with hate and angst and fear.

I am not part of a group whose ideologies and actions reflect on me, especially when I don't necessarily agree with those ideas or actions.

I don't expect everyone to understand where I am coming from on this, but I also don't expect to explain myself every time I do something that contradicts a set of rules someone else bestowed upon me.
Post Mon Jul 28, 2003 11:07 am
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dayslikethis



Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Posts: 9
Location: St. Paul, MN
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I guess that's fair. For the record however, I think that numerous people have always mistaken the movement to be something it's not. It's a way for kids within the hip-hop and punk scene to say pressures to participate in harmful behaviors will not be felt, not a way to put others down or practice hateful behavior. In the early 90's it seemed that Hardliners, a particularily violent branch of straight edge kids became the group that spoke for all of us. Their behavior does not reflect on everyone who claims this title; most of us are more about positive empowerment, political action, and non-violent behavior. There is no need to explain yourself to me, I'm just a fan that had a question, I was in no way attempting to call you out on your choices. It's just unfair to state that we are all a certain type of people that act the same, but I guess that's what I choose to face when I decided that this label applyed to me. Thanks for your reply, I'm a huge fan so your honesty means a great deal to me.
Post Mon Jul 28, 2003 12:49 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21602
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I don't care to be spoken for. By anybody.

Especially not a loose knit "group" of people.

I like that Ian is drinking coca-cola on the inside cover of the Minor Threat CD. Really. It screams, "Jesus...I had no idea shit was going to get so out of hand."


Last edited by Sage Francis on Tue Jul 29, 2003 5:52 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Mon Jul 28, 2003 1:08 pm
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FoJaR



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Posts: 1534
Location: VA.
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hahaha

didnt notice that before... always with the keen eyes you are..
Post Mon Jul 28, 2003 10:13 pm
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dayslikethis



Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Posts: 9
Location: St. Paul, MN
Minor Threat  Reply with quote  

I don't mean to be dragging this whole conversation out, but Ian was pretty aware of the original Straight Edge movement when it first started in the late 80's. Their song, Straight Edge was the fuel that started the movement, not them just being alcohol free. The only problem some of the original members of Minor Threat had with the movement was when kids got violent at their shows when people were smoking, which a lot of us still have a problem with. Just thought I'd clear that up. Peace.
Post Tue Jul 29, 2003 2:12 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21602
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I disagree.

from what I know, I disagree.
Post Wed Jul 30, 2003 9:55 pm
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joedan



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 273
Re: UR Chiacgo Magazine interview 7/27/03  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
9. Personal Journals seems more like personal journeys to me sometimes-the
excellent rapping always delves into difficult questions, but sometimes asks
more questions than it matters. Do you feel that you might release another
album with similar subject matter?

My music will always have a personal edge to it. Perhaps not as much as on Personal Journals, but in retrospect I could have done a lot of it in a much more tasteful way.



what do you mean about doing it in a more tasteful way?
Post Thu Jul 31, 2003 2:13 am
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coma emilio



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 1115
Re: UR Chiacgo Magazine interview 7/27/03  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
I saw a man and woman fucking on a staircase in Glasgow.


jesus, i guess at least you'll remember glasgow for something.
i once saw two people going at it in broad daylight on a bench at the back of my house. who said romance was dead?
Post Thu Jul 31, 2003 6:02 pm
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the Wiper



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 523
Location: Kent State University
 Reply with quote  

nobody else caught that sage is famous for being a 'straight-edge vegetarian rapper'???

LOL!
Post Fri Aug 01, 2003 4:59 am
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