Joined: 30 Jun 2002
|an interview that started in 2000 and ended today 11/18/03
Interview conducted by Arun at www.i-jonez.com
A Sage Francis interview for www.i-jonez.com from 2000 that was never used:
What are you up to at the moment?
"Looking at this long ass interview and wondering how I will get through it without boring myself and the rest of this world to death. I am the scum bag boy george michael jackson pollock type. I am also going to all the messageboards, posting under random names so I can dis myself."
Tell me a little about your history, where you're coming from...?
"Where don't I come from. First and foremost I come from the mighty life force that has decided to break a piece of itself off and form this ugly mass of hairy flesh. After that, I come from the phallus. After that, I come from the comfort zone of my mother's innards. I came fresh out the box in a land called Miami, Fla. Where do I come from? Rhode Island. That's where I grew up. Isolated and confused."
So when did you start rhyming?
"I date my love and enthusiasm for hiphop back to when I was 8. That's when I started writing and rhyming. I didn't know anyone who rapped or wrote. There were 3 or 4 kids in my school who knew what rap was."
Who were some of your influences in Hip Hop?
"Run DMC, LL, Kool Moe Dee, Public Enemy, KRS One, Rakim, De La Soul, Beastie Boys, NWA...Fat Boys....there are so many. Its not fair to name two or three. Every single hiphopper I came across was an influence in one way or another. It's so easy to just name the greats...but not entirely fair."
Do you consider yourself a battle mc first or a poet (is it cool to call you a poet?)?
"I think it's proper to call me a poet. I was a battle mc first. Poetry has taken over my creative energies. My position is an interesting one because I'll battle a poet to death and then poeticize the demise of all the crumb emcees. I play both sides of the fence. eeyyoooooo. Rap rap rap. I am a rapper more than a poet...clearly indicated by my arrogance."
What is your mind set when your going into a battle?
"How little respect I have for them and what they do. How they don't mean shit to me when it comes down to it. That's why i don't like to battle my friends...without that mind set, I don't have the aggression. It can still be fun...but I don't go for blood too often any more. I'd rather catch people off guard and take them out of their element by doing the unexpected."
Is there anyone out you wouldn't want to battle?
"I don't care to battle anyone I dearly respect as a friend or artist."
Who gets more girls poets or battle mc?
"I don't see either getting many girls at all. My poetry has definitely won me more female fans though."
"Run come follow me!", please explain that to people who have never heard this?
"Hahaa...that's just a song I did in 1992. Don't talk about that."
When did you first perform it? drop the rest of it?
"I was performing in whatever club would let me grab a mic. I still do it live every now and then...but people can't understand it since its all chatting and tongue twisting. If I wrote it out for you I'd be playing myself."
What are the differences between Paul, Sage and Xaul Zan? and Who is your favorite?
"Paul hasn't been around for sometime now. He is a big fan of hiphop. He is sad. Sage is a performer/entertainer/business man with an interest in making life work out the way Paul intended. He has failed miserably so far...but he continues to push ahead, dragging a whole bunch of carcasses with him. Xaul Zan is the result of Paul's utter disgust with how this world has turned out. He is here to wipe the tears. He is here to bruise melons. He is here to ruin your produce section. He has no answers...just a dirty middle finger to shove into your boy-hole."
Rumor has it that Xaul Zan was retiring is this true?
"Xaul Zan might retire from battles...but he will be playing a large part in the Non-Prophets album. Strange Famous has his place in there as well. Strange Famous is big time."
Where does Xaul Zan shop for his gear?
"Thrift shops of course. He steals the rest of his shit from closets that are stuffed with embarassing pasts. Your closet."
What are you thought of live hiphop bands including rock/rap bands?
"Boooo. Roots put on a great show. Too many live bands try to sound like they AREN'T a live band. What's the point in that? Breakastra was wonderful live. I don't dig rock/rap bands though. My band, AOI, is currently recording some great music. Nothing is forced. Our old album was crap. Some people liked it...but we have all grown tremendously as artists since 1997, and I don't care to sound like a 'rap band.' The music is good...the recordings are coming out lovely...my lyrics and vocals fit the part." (This project has since been abandoned and several songs have been scattered on random Sage releases.)
You have been holding your radio show down for a quick minute, what are some of the advantages of doing radio?
"Shameless self-promotion. Plus, it helps build a scene and bring people together who have similar tastes. It helps in manipulating your environment as well. It can win you a lot of enemies when you play your cards right. I play those cards like a fucking champ, my man. I deal cards as I pull them. I try keeping this deck at an even balance."
Do you have a day job or does hip hop pay the bills?
"Sage Francis pays the bills. This is my day job."
Rumor out there has it that you have used your talents to ghost write, are there particular artist you will write for or is just show me the money?
"I would ghost write for anyone if the money was right. I don't think that really reflects on me too much. It gives me a big freedom to experiment with different voices and personas. I am a ghost writer for the horrorcore songs my personal monsters sing."
Why straight edge?
"Because I don't trust my surroundings."
So on the real how many new LPs are you currently working on? and when are you gonna just drop one?
"I am working on three LPs, and I have been for quite some time now. My solo album is called Personal Journals and will be released on Anticon by late fall. The single, Climb Trees, will be out in July. After that, AOI should release the EP we are wrapping up right now. In 2002, Joe Beats and I are going to release our mucho anticipated Non-Prophets LP. My solo album is going to set off the chain of events that will lead wonderfully into the Non-Prophets album. I can't wait."
Well tell what's the vibe to expected from these LPs?
"Personal Journals is very innovative as far as delivery, subject matter, and over-all 'feel' goes. It is introspective and emotional, without losing the edge that has carried me this far. The production matches the mood of my lyrics well, and I predict it will change the way a lot of people go about their writing. Not that i necessarily want that...it will be interesting to see how the public takes to it. The AOI EP is more musical and will probably be picked up by Indie Rockers more than hiphop purists. The Non-Prophets album is on some fun, political-dick talk hiphop type shit, mixed with my patent psycho journalism. Lots of anthems on this bad boy. It is a step back into the traditional sound of hiphop for me, and I am loving it. It is less personal and will appeal to people more for its production, rhyme schemes, deliveries, and song arrangement. That's what I think."
How long you been down with Anticon?
Are we going to be hearing more stuff with you and them Anticon dudes?
"Probably. They have been a great help. They make some of the most interesting hiphop that I have heard in the past 4 years. Its a pleasure of mine to be able to collaborate with like minds who respect the differences we all encompass."
Spoken word, when did you get into that?
"1996. That's the same year I got so fed-up with hiphop that I had to try something new or else I would just kill myself."
What do you prefer spoken word, battling or your live hip hop act?
"They each play an important role. If I had to choose one thing to do for the rest of my life it would have to be spoken word, because of all the freedom and potential that is involved."
How can you describe your experience at the National Poetry Slam?
"The first year I attended the nationals, I was overwhelmed by all the talent. I was thrilled to realize how all these great writers and performers come together every year for the sake of art and collaboration. The next year, i realized that poetry slams suck as much as emcee battles, due to all the egos and politics involved. But I would rather attend the National Poetry Slam than an emcee battle (which usually consists of some lesser talented individuals.) It is very rare that I leave an emcee battle feeling fulfilled, the way i feel after leaving a great poetry reading."
Who are your favourite MC's? and who would like to collaborate with?
"There are a lot of rappers that I think are dope, but not too many as of late. I would like to collaborate with Rakim, Public Enemy, Vast, Sebutones, Atmosphere, Anticon, and everyone else who still speak to me with their music. I would rather collaborate with non-hiphoppers though. that's not what you asked me. Oh well."
What are some advantages and disadvantages to being independent?
"I do what I want, how I want, when I want, why I want, where I want...who I want. Ha. The major disadvantage is not being able to get my music to as many people as a major label could. I am working my way to that level slowly but surely though. No rush."
How do you feel about hiphop on the internet, in particular netcees and battle-boards?
"It's silly and meaningless. Unless you are doing it for a joke or something to kill your time, its sorry and foolish. Just have dumb fun with it if you do it. Don't think that it is actually worth anything. it doesn't provide validity to you as a writer, artist or hiphopper...those who think it does are fooling themselves. wow...I can't believe I just wrote that much over something so meaningless. Next question."
What are you future plans music wise and non-music wise?
"hmmmm...tough one. I plan to die after the Non-Prophets album and continue life in a more elevated manner."
A FOLLOW UP TO THIS INTERVIEW...THREE YEARS LATER 11/18/03
What's the view on your audience?
"I have such a poor grasp of who my audience is. My heart bleeds for my core audience. The consistent ones. Some are still around from 1996 and thinking about makes me a little emotional. And I am not suggesting that my TRUE audience are the ones who come from way back when, but I know when someone truly enjoys what I have to offer. Because it translates in the respect that they show. On the other side of the fence I have these fly-by-night fans who are influenced by trend, and their demeanor is disgusting. This contingent has grown to threatening proportions."
Besides promoting your new album this year, is there anything we should look out for from Sage in 2004?
"Joe and I are following the HOPE release with an EP to promote the album while we tour the states with Grand Buffet in early spring. It is around this time I hope to be releasing my Sickly Business album which is going to consist of unreleased tracks and weird shit from my past. It is turning out really funny. I just found a lost verse from the Mainstream 307 song that I will be including. It was done on the first take and then I never went back to it. Now when I listen to it I'm like, 'Jesus, this is the best verse of the whole song.' Haha. Ah well. Most importantly for me I will be releasing my first Epitaph album HOPEFULLY by early summer, which is when I will be doing the Warped Tour."
If you are a non-prophet , how come your new album Hope, has Jesus on the cover?
"I don't see how your question makes any sense."
What would you say your growth has been from Personal Journals to Hope?
"That's a very difficult question to answer, because the point of HOPE was not to show growth. Also, HOPE got started even before Personal Journals was made. But if we want to focus on 'growth' here, then I would say that HOPE is more of a consistent album, with a more professional sound."
What do you think is one of dopest lines you spit since you started rhyming?
"I've got broccoli cock, how many vegetarian women are in the house?"
What track of yours are you most proud of? Why is that?
"In retrospect, I would have to say that I am most proud of Makeshift Patriot because even though it was a rushed song it had great purpose and it made a good impact at a crucial time."
What's a typical day in the life of Sage. What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not in the studio or touring?
"Private stuff, food, Emails, packages, orders, music, instrumentals, rap, writing, drive, fly, perform, read, private stuff, sleep. I have a few different kinds of typical days I guess."
Do you usually go to concerts with your mother?
"I went to my first concert with my mommy. After that she had no desire to attend hiphop shows."
If you go to Fugazi shows requesting minor threat songs, would you be mad if someone came to your concert and requested MC Paul Berman songs?
"Horrible analogy. hahaa. A more appropriate analogy would be if someone came to my shows requesting AOI songs. I wouldn't get mad though. We would all have a great big laugh about it and then roast marshmallows on your flaming vagina."
A lot of rappers are becoming more politically active these days. Why are you interested in politics?
"I'm sorry, but I don't see that at all. At all. As for myself, I am not particularly interested in politics. They leave me with a gross feeling. However, we are victims of circumstance and these circumstances are the result of politics. Therefor, I am forced to pay attention to the machine that is fucking our people over. There needs to be an awareness and activism that takes the place of the apathy and ignorance that soils our youth.
Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:46 pm
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