Rapper, activist, and cultural provocateur Sage Francis offers his most personal and fully realized work on Human The Death Dance, his second Anti/Epitaph release. With topics ranging from 9-to-5 cubicle madness to addiction to sex and hip hop, Francis delves into very real issues with wit and intensity. On moving tracks like "Hell Of A Year", "Woke Up This Morning" and "Keep Moving," Sage examines broken relationships with a brutal honesty reminiscent of Dylan's Blood On The Tracks. Hailing from Providence RI, Sage has a unique place in hip hop history, building a huge fanbase through tireless grassroots self promotion, as chronicled in the CD opener "Undergound for Dummies." Equally comfortable in rap battle or a poetry slam, Francis will hit the road this spring in support of Human the Death Dance, with Buck 65 and Alias, a highly anticipated tour for fans of hip-hop and alternative alike.
After cutting his teeth in spoken-word and rap-battle circuits, Sage Francis launched into hip-hop, sort of. On his first handful of nationally visible solo records (Known Unsoldier
being the must-have of the bunch), Francis knotted his stylistic roots, mixing his vocal skills in an emcee's equivalent of cracking his knuckles. As Non-Prophets--with DJ Joe Beats--he signaled his hip-hop arrival on Hope
, with referential credentials blaring over beat-down backdrops. Of course, he'll tell you all this himself, and more, and does. The first proper track on Human the Death Dance
, "Underground for Dummies" brings all comers up to speed on the Francis oeurve
. Thus primed, Francis outs with the clearest presentation of his entire, moody, linguistic repertoire. He's had it in him for years, but this time around, he learned to make a mix tape. In one exemplary run, "Got Up This Morning" brings in revenant folkie Jolie Holland for a back-porch jam that rags on the deserving Charles Bukowski, then "Good Fashion" muscles forward, percussion-free, on the strength of a pounding string ensemble. Finally, "Clickety Clack" explodes forward in a thunderous, dungenous groove. It's hip-hop, sort of, but if this is a death dance, good riddance to the deceased. --Jason Kirk