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My interview with Grand Central Magazine. 6/18/08
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21574
My interview with Grand Central Magazine. 6/18/08  Reply with quote  

1. It has been 13 months since "Human the Death Dance" was released.
What are you working on now?

"I've been writing for at least three separate albums. I'm also working on a new DVD which may be coupled with a spoken word CD. Beyond my own music, most of my time is being dedicated to my record label, Strange Famous Records. We have albums from B Dolan and Prolyphic that we just released and we have a couple other albums that we're developing from some interesting underground hip-hop artists. Knowmore.org is another thing that I'm paying attention to. We just won $15,000 from a contest sponsored by Netsquared and B Dolan is putting that money to good use to ensure that Knowmore.org expands and develops in the appropriate ways. This is very important considering the massive change this nation is about to face with the new election."


2. For fans of commercial rap like Jay-Z and Kanye West, what does
"underground" or "alternative" rap offer that commercial does not?

"It's tough drawing a line in the sand. Things aren't as definitive as they once were stylistically. One thing you can always guarantee though is that underground artists (or artists with less pressure from big money sponsorship) process information and relay it to the public through less filters."

3. In an interview, Chuck D said that you are "one of those people
coming to the table, trying to be himself… looking for his 'Own
Private Idaho' while still saluting the hip-hop flag." His comments
suggest what you're doing isn't exactly hip hop. Do you agree with
that?

"I don't think that his comments suggest that what I'm doing isn't exactly hip-hop. He is saying that I am doing something unique but it is still hip-hop. That's how I interpret his comments, and I take them to heart. Even though I have taken my music in a different direction, I am still saluting the hip-hop flag. Maybe I interpret his comments this way because that's what I believe, but most of my critics who say I'm not hip-hop cite some really lame reasons for it. Chuck D has said some very kind things about me and it means the world to me. I have had the honor to speak with him on a couple of occasions and he is the only hero from my childhood who has been able to hold my respect and admiration in high regard straight into my adulthood. There is an audio recording where Chuck D is interviewing me on Air America that we have linked on www.StrangeFamousRecords.com and I go back to listen to it from time to time just to remind myself that he has me on his radar and he's interested in collaborating on a song. Then I jump in my time machine, travel back to 1987, and smack the living shit out of my 11 year old self."

4. You did a TV advertisement for PETA. How did you get involved with them?

"I didn't really do a TV advert for PETA. I was at Scribble Jam and they showed up with a video camera. They interviewed me for a while and then asked me to freestyle. I did and I was trying to be funny. Some people took it far too seriously. That's OK with me. There are three things people should know about my relation to PETA. One, I don't represent them and they don't represent me. Two, what I like most about them is how they ruffle feathers. Three, I feel like I was screwed out of my sexiest vegetarian award when they gave the crown to Prince. There's no way I didn't get more votes than him, especially when my running mate was Natalie Portman. Ever since then I have turned a deaf ear to their yelping."

5. There are videos all over YouTube of you engaging in rap battles or
just free styling on your own. Meanwhile some of the most highly
regarded rappers today can't freestyle. Why is it that some can while
others cannot?

"Because if you engage in freestyles while being recorded...real freestyles...you inevitably look like an asshole at some point. A lot of rappers just can't deal with that. I'm OK with it. Fuck it. Sometimes I say great things when going off the top of the head, and a lot of the time I say dumb things. Oh well. Have fun. I just wish people would put their cameras away and let the now be now. Not later. Now."


6. Many of your fans aren't hip-hop fans per se, thanks in part to you
being featured on Punk-O-Rama Vol. 8; they just like what you do. Are
you happy with that or would you prefer having actual hip-hop fans
following what you do?

"Most of my fans used to be hardcore hip-hop fans. I stopped pandering to that crowd and decided to do stuff that was more challenging to that type of audience. What happened was I lost a segment of the hardcore hip-hop crowd and and allowed other people to have access to my art and experience. I definitely like having hip-hop fans at my shows, but if I only had hip-hop fans enjoying my material I'd feel really insecure about my art. I'd wonder why people outside of my chosen genre couldn't enjoy or identify with the humanity in what I do. Then I'd probably assume that the only reason that hip-hop kids enjoy my material (and no one else) is because I pander to them. I've been lucky though. I do what I want to do, and I have all walks of life coming to my shows expressing their appreciation for what I do. Black, white, asian, native american, mexican, young, old, christian, muslim, atheist, men and women. I hold their hand and I say yes. I just say yes. They look me in the eye and they say yes as well. It's a yes fest."


7. You hold an AA in communications and a BA in journalism, which
suggests you like keeping in the loop of current events. That being
said, what do you think about the upcoming presidential election?

"I think that Obama is a gift from the heavens. If he turns out to be anything less I will call him on a cellphone and say, 'Hey...listen here, fella. The great burden of change rests on your shoulders. How dare you hunch over. No no no. You know what you need to do. Fix everything that the old, rich, white people have broken over the past few centuries and do it PRONTO!'"
Post Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:41 pm
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DM



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
Posts: 6371
Location: www.NERDTORIOUS.com
 Reply with quote  

I don't know how on earth dude thought question #3 implied that you weren't hip-hop.

And I love your response to the last question.
Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:06 am
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 6166
Location: privileged homeless
Re: My interview with Grand Central Magazine. 6/18/08  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
"Most of my fans used to be hardcore hip-hop fans. I stopped pandering to that crowd and decided to do stuff that was more challenging to that type of audience. What happened was I lost a segment of the hardcore hip-hop crowd and and allowed other people to have access to my art and experience. I definitely like having hip-hop fans at my shows, but if I only had hip-hop fans enjoying my material I'd feel really insecure about my art. I'd wonder why people outside of my chosen genre couldn't enjoy or identify with the humanity in what I do. Then I'd probably assume that the only reason that hip-hop kids enjoy my material (and no one else) is because I pander to them. I've been lucky though.
That is such a hard thing to deal with, focusing your appeal to suit the most comfortable combination of expressing what matters to you and reaching people. I've been trying to come to terms forever with the fact that people who like the kind of rap I like don't always like the kind of rap I make, which means if I DO concentrate on the people who WILL like what I make... that audience doesn't understand more than like a third of my references or open influences.

Too artsy for the rap crowd, too rappy for the art crowd. I think it's really impressive how well you've balanced that, especially as art and rap are almost no longer on speaking terms in many views.
Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:31 pm
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Reggie



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 5765
Location: Queens, NYC
 Reply with quote  

You can't choose your audience

But you can alienate them
Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:37 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21574
 Reply with quote  

you can alienate your audience

but you can't annihilate them
Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:44 pm
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