Album cover: Li(f)e

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Sage Francis Bio

"All great truths begin as blasphemies," proclaimed the fiery playwright George Bernard Shaw. It's a sentiment that can be applied exponentially to the works of rapper Sage Francis and his exhilarating new album Li(f)e. Francis has never been afraid to provoke. As a result he is a sometimes polarizing and increasingly important figure in modern music. Adored by many, reviled by a few but never ignored and always essential, Sage Francis has emerged as the reigning agent provocateur of hip hop. Read more


“Mainstream vs Underground Hip-Hop” – What say you?

Here’s a new video interview I did with where we discuss, of all things, mainstream hiphop. The interviewers seemed surprised by my answers to their questions (their reactions aren’t included in this video) but maybe that’s because I was focusing more on production value rather than lyrical content. Perhaps you disagree with me. I’d love to hear what you think about mainstream vs underground hiphop as a lot of things have changes over the past 10 years.

I’m about to fly to the Czech Republic to perform at the Kemp Festival and then I go to Russia to perform 2 more shows. The Russian flyer is a favorite of mine.

Lastly, for anyone who is interested in silkscreened posters, we’ve added a few more to our catalog over at Strange Famous Records. A couple of these photos were dragged out of the old tour archives and there are very few left.

Fuck Clear Channel Tour, 2004

12 Responses to ““Mainstream vs Underground Hip-Hop” – What say you?”

  1. Ted says:

    Great little interview Sage, i think it is kind of sad that, cus mainstream hiphop is just “hiphop” to like the majority of the people. And you said at the end, if you mention hiphop to some random person on the street, they will not think of you, or other more independent artists – but like 50 cent or some other whack rapper, it WOULD be nice if socially aware/intellectual hiphop got more cred and recognition amongst people.

  2. Joshua Caleb says:

    I think the market is saturated right now, and the underground has no way of reaching the masses, but once it reaches the masses its no longer underground. I also think its almost like Journalism nowadays anybody can do it.. Anybody can be a writer, anybody can give their two cents and call themselves a journalist, or poet, or musician. Only a select really stand out. And will be remembered in 20 years

    I think the best way for the indie hip hop artist to promote is word of mouth. Thats how I discovered you Sage, and a whole roster of other great acts.

  3. invertedquestionmark says:

    I’d say that mainstream hip-hop focuses on form and not content because this is easier and cheaper to be reproduced by an industry. Like it or not, mainstream music is governed by the industry logic of cutting production costs is the most important thing. Recently I read a rather nice piece about the music industry’s practices, which covered most of the points I would have made and added even more. Check it out if you’re interested:

    I really likes the comparison between mainstream hip-hop and action movies, especially because there are a lot of bad action movies and some decent ones. However, whether and why do people like them is topic for a really long discussion. A French sociologist called Pierre Bourdieu talks about what he calls “cultural capital” and how it is developed and obtained. Basically, his view is that taste is something that is not subjective but is dependent on our background. This would explain why I like classical music (my parents) and hardcore punk (my friends). But then there are also ways in which you could expand this capital on your own. In my case this would be internet piracy, which allowed me to listen to a lot more stuff than I could have ever afforded and to gradually stumble upon artists like you or Scroobius Pip and so on. The conclusion is that those who listen to, say, mainstream hip-hop don’t necessary “like” it but don’t have the background knowledge to expand their taste and are left with what is being offered – just like kids usually turn out to support that same political party as their parents, for example.

    Hope this makes any sense at all… It’s a really complex issue and it’s impossible to explain it in just one paragraph.

  4. […] My interview with where my comments on Underground Vs. Mainstream created a lengthy discu…n at the SFR […]

  5. Hurray for this piece. You are my complete idol.

  6. tera hacks says:

    Lol, your blogroll links are kinda mesed up 😛 (just sayin’)

  7. Sage Francis says:

    Hmmm. I don’t really know what a blogroll is. What does that mean and do you have a suggestion on what I should do?

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  9. Jay Keller says:

    as long as you continue to Deny Jesus and his father God, you will not survive long, reaching more people and getting people to hear about your messed up mind is going to kill you, you won’t live long, and then you will be punished forever. Have fun with that….

  10. Sage Francis says:

    I’m shaking in my tortured ghost boots already.

  11. AvidListener says:


  12. Nick Acosta says:

    O lawd…. @Jay Keller…

    Nice little interview