Strange Famous Records

LI(F)E album: artwork by the legendary Shepard Fairey

The new album Li(f)e by hip hop iconoclast Sage Francis is an impassioned and timely critique of cultural hypocrisy and organized religion. The record’s cover art has been created by renowned artist and illustrator Shepard Fairey who first gained notoriety with his “André the Giant” street art and later with his iconic Obama “Hope” poster. For the cover of Li(f)e Fairey has employed his distinctive agitprop style to create a suitably provocative image of an unwavering and winged Francis caught in the crosshairs as flames rise beneath him.

THE MUSIC

Musically Li(f)e is refreshingly unique. Francis’ biting and sardonic wordplay now further empowered by Read the rest of this entry »

51 Comments »
Mar 03

B. Dolan’s record release show!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72pnDFNEQzU&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

The “Fallen House, Sunken City” record release show on 2/27/10 at Jerky’s in Providence, RI was one of the best shows I’ve ever been a part of for a variety of reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Comments »
Feb 28

B. Dolan “EARTHMOVERS” video and photos

B. Dolan and I flew out to Kansas City from February 19-22 to film the video for his “Earthmovers” song (www.FallenHouse.com for more info on that album!)

I was prepared for high quality work from the director, Kyle Harbaugh, but the kind of things he worked out for “Earthmovers” is beyond anything we could have Read the rest of this entry »

4 Comments »
Feb 24

“Fallen House, Sunken City” is going to slay you.

B. Dolan’s new album “Fallen House, Sunken City” is produced entirely by ALIAS. It features P.O.S., Cadence Weapon, Buddy Peace, “What Cheer?” Brigade and it drops on March 2, 2010. Check out the video and download the first single for free at www.FallenHouse.com

go to www.FallenHouse.com for all info

go to www.FallenHouse.com for all info

Two years of pain-staking labor…on March 2nd the child is born. There’s so much I’d like to say about this album but it’s probably best that we let the music speak for itself. If you’re half excited as we are about this project then it’s going to be a hell of a year for B. Dolan, Alias, myself and everyone else at Strange Famous Records. Please check out the details and updates as they funnel in at www.FallenHouse.com

If you are bored by linernotes then don’t read any further. If you love linernotes, here are mine for now: I’d like to thank Danny Brown for putting the FallenHouse webpage together in a matter of days. I’d like to thank Uncle Pete for the album artwork. I’d like to thank Irena Mihalinec for the web designs and all the meticulous work she does to make us look as pretty as we do. I’d like to thank Storm and Amanda for helping things run more smoothly in the SFR barracks. I’d like to thank Dan & Jacob at Pretty Picture Movement for their work on the video trailer. I’d like to thank Prolyphic and Kyle Harbaugh for the video work people haven’t seen yet. I’d like to thank P.O.S., Cadence Weapon, Buddy Peace, and “What Cheer?” Brigade for their contributions to the album.  I’d like to thank Buck 65, Graematter, Evil 9, and Reanimator for their help with the remixes (there’s no telling when these will be released.) And, most of all, I’d like to thank Dolan and Alias for seeing this project through even while tensions ran high and the world seemed to be crumbling around us.

I’m sure I’m missing someone but this list will do for now. I’m very fucking excited to have this album finally finished and released on SFR in 2010. Oh yeah…I’d like to thank the fans who are helping generate excitement and promotion for this album. There’s more to come as the release date approaches.

:-*

3 Comments »
Jan 25

Video footage of the very 1st Xaul Zan battle (1999)

“You love to hear the story, again and again, of how it all got started way back when…”

Ten years ago I was living in Brooklyn, NY on a velcro sneaker budget. A friend named Mig was kind enough to let me sleep on his floor at night as my days were spent  looking for ways to either make money or get my name out there. One way I tried making those things happen was by entering emcee battles. The most popular semi-regular battle was an event called Braggin’ Rites which I THOUGHT took place at a club called The Wetlands, but the banner behind the stage clearly says S.O.B’s. If I remember correctly, and as you’ll see in the video below, the night was usually hosted by Yeshua da Poed and their format entailed 4 emcees battling each other at once during the earlier rounds. You’ll also see in the video that my Xaul Zan alter-ego wasn’t fully developed just yet, but the concept was definitely being birthed on this night.

[youtube width="387" height="332"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDS_qq9v_aM[/youtube]

This battle footage isn’t anything I’d consider as part of a highlight reel, and it’s difficult to make out much of what is actually being said, but I’m happy to share this video time capsule with people. It’s been a crazy decade. I’m lookin’ forward to the next.

Thanks for sticking it out with the kid.
-Sage Francis

www.StrangeFamous.com

17 Comments »
Dec 02

Urb Magazine on hiatus?

It seems Urb Magazine is taking a hiatus from printing more issues, opting to go the digital route until 2010 to see if it is financially feasible to return to ink.

Although it’s not a hip-hop magazine per se, Urb was one of the last publications to give coverage to independent hip-hop. That being said, it’s a bit sad for all of us here at SFR and we wish them well.

Here are the details Urb sent out in a mass email earlier today:

“This autumn, for the first time in our 20 year history, URB Magazine will release our first all digital issue. URB #159 will hit the ‘streets’ later this month and feature 25 must-know artists breaking onto the scene. In the spirit of our lauded Next 100, our 25: NOW! issue will be a reference guide to what’s next.

As for our print edition, we’re taking a hiatus until 2010 so we can see what the future of ink on paper should really look like. In the meantime, we’re thrilled about a major URB.COM relaunch (this month!) and bringing a ton of digital initiatives to you and our readers.”

One of the only magazines brave enough to put my ugly mug on a cover. Respeck!

108 Comments »
Oct 01

RIP Roc Raida (guest blog by DJ Jester)

This week we lost one of the greatest DJ’s this world has ever known. Grand Master Roc Raida (real name: Anthony Williams) of the X-Ecutioners passed away on Saturday due to complications from a mixed-martial-arts accident. His sudden passing shocked the world (the hip-hop community in particular) as messages of sorrow and condolence came flooding in.

My personal experience with Roc Raida is very limited. I used to hunt down Roc Raida mixtapes as well as VHS tapes of his DJ performances. I played his music often on my radio show and I was lucky enough to see him perform with the X-Ecutioners (at that time they were called the X-Men) at a small club in Providence, RI in the late 90′s. His performances were enthralling and inspiring. I never became much of a DJ, but Roc Raida did the kind of things that would make you think, “Yeah…if I dedicated all of my time to a craft I want to be able to freak it like that.” And of course, very few will ever be able to do it the way Roc Raida did.

Buck 65 has already posted a personal story about Roc Raida on his blog section here at www.StrangeFamous.com but an honorary member of the SFR crew named DJ Jester wanted to share his experience as well so here’s his story:

“I found out about Roc Raida’s death the same way I’ve been hearing most bad news lately…through Twitter. I’m following DJ Spinderella, the DJ for Salt-N-Pepa, and that’s where I got the news. I was up early on Saturday, September 19th, 2009, on a road trip and this was the surprise I got during breakfast. I got into Marfa, Texas, a tiny west Texas art town a day early before for a gig Saturday. It made me think..Dang, here I am in the middle of nowhere about to DJ and, honestly, I probably wouldn’t even be doing this if it weren’t for Raida. And it’s not like my style is anything like his. I do think he was an influence, though. I can’t beat juggle to save my life but I do know I wanted to start a body trick crew because of him.

There weren’t as many celebrity tweets about Roc Raida’s passing as there were for DJ AM, but I can understand why. It was a different scene. Like other DJs around my age (early thirtysomething), I distinctly remember me in the late 90′s being a fan of this scratch DJ thing more than I paid attention to school or girls. Scratch DJ videos probably got me more in debt back then than anything else. It was a culture I felt part of. Like those friends you have who watch a lot of wrestling. I immersed myself in it, mostly by way of being the arts editor for my college newspaper. Every show scratch DJ related I’d try to score tickets to. I was invited to both Q-Bert’s “Wave Twisters” CD release in San Francisco AND his Skratchcon 2000 event, not as a DJ but as a journalist. On one of those trips, the first video I probably bought was a self-released Skratch Piklz video. Coming from San Antonio, where that stuff didn’t really hit yet I couldn’t believe there was such amazing talent coming from these other towns. Ten years ago DJ’s had their own voices and personalities. Like, when you saw them or heard them you knew it was THEIR voice. DJ Swamp, Kid Koala, Mr. Dibbs, the X-Men, Piklz, and Beat Junkies. Those were pretty much my heroes. Skratch DJing was still considered experimental getting love from the Wire and magazines like that. Anyway, those Piklz videos led to me buying the Invisibl Skratch Piklz vs. the X-Men video. That’s probably the first time I saw Raida perform in a group routine. That made me hungry for more so I bought the 1995 World DMC Finals video. I would constantly rewind the part where he is spinning with his back to the turntables and would try (mostly jokingly) to imitate that during practice. When he defended his title in the 1996 World DMCs, it was like he grew more musical in a year.

Anyway, Roc Raida RIP. I felt like I knew you. Thank you for being you and for your contributions to hip-hop culture.
-DJ Jester the Filipino Fist”

4 Comments »
Sep 21

Ever been to Switzerland?

In 2005 I toured Europe with a group called Grand Buffet. Although they are my favourite group in the world to tour with, this was the most trying and difficult tour of my career. We were robbed a couple times, there was a hospital trip, had run-ins with the law, you name it. By the time we reached Switzerland for our final show, our morale was totally shot. Upon entering Swiss territory, the country looked like a ghost town. A very clean, sterile and affluent ghost town.

As we drove through the city of Zurich we noticed a ferris wheel and some other rides off in the distance. It was a carnival or town fair of some sort. The place was dead empty, but we had some time to kill before the show so we decided to storm the castle. “Storming the castle” is a game we came up with to keep ourselves entertained during these long trips through no-man’s-land Europe. What that game entailed was simply running around like a bunch of idiots while yelling at the top of our lungs to cause confusion or alarm for the people on the premises.

We pulled up to the carnival, hopped out of the van, “stormed the castle,” and returned back to our van completely out of breath. We looked at each one another like…”what the fuck did we just see?” It was clearly the best little carnival in the world. So we went back in disguised as civilized Americans. Thankfully they allowed us back in.

The rides were wonderfully dangerous. They were the kind of rides that would never be allowed at an American carnival. They were lawsuit- worthy. Even the games came with a risk of injury. Games like… shoot the can with an actual rifle. You know…I don’t know. It was a while ago and I can’t remember the specifics, but I remember every booth being manned by a beautiful woman. This is different than the toothless, ex-convict carnies we are used to in the States.

When we finished with the Shoot-Your-Eye-Out and Punch-The-Clown-in-the-Face games, we had to leave and find our way to our show. Upon entering the club, we saw that there was a huge print-out of my face that reached from the stage to the ceiling. It was glorious and totally obnoxious. The promoter told me that his idea was to have me run through it when it was time for me to start my set. Just… amazing. I looked at him like, “Yeah man… totally.”

What happened instead is that I stripped down to my underwear during Grand Buffet’s set and I jumped through my print-out face during Grand Buffet’s performance. Music wasn’t even playing when I decided to do it. In fact, Lord Grunge of GB was fighting with a crowd member when I decided to make my grand entrance. Since I was in disguise (with a baseball cap and wig,) no one recognized me. As far as the audience was concerned I was just some random, pseudo-naked, long-haired, half-naked guy contributing to an oddball performance from a beligerant rap group. It wasn’t wild though. The crowd went dead silent. I stumbled to the CD player, hit the play button and yelled, “LET’S GO!”

I helped Grand Buffet end their set by doing high leg kicks for 2 two minutes straight. When the song finished, Lord Grunge grabbed the CD player and slammed it into the ground. I have no idea how my own set went. I have no recollection of it at all. All I remember is walking on my hands when the show was finished, racing a woman down the dance floor. I won. This was the last show of my last European Tour, and Switzerland is fucking weird.

6 Comments »
Sep 01

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Sleep of Oldominion's new album "Oregon Failure" (produced by Maulskull) is OUT NOW! SIGNED CD and MP3 Download available here.

SFRstore EXCLUSIVE! Prolyphic & Buddy Peace Limited Edition, Tri-Colored, Hand-Screenprinted 7-inch Vinyl! Features Sage Francis & Metermaids. See all available options here.

B. Dolan will be joining Sage Francis on the Copper Gone Tour this May! Check out the latest installment of his "House of Bees" mixtape series here.

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