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With the exception of the pioneering work of the Beastie Boys, I haven’t paid much attention to white rappers. That is until I heard two stunning albums released in 2005. One of those is This Right Here Is Buck 65 by Canadian emcee Buck 65, and the other is A Healthy Distrust by Rhode Island native Sage Francis.
Sage returns with a new album this month, and its filled with more undeniably brilliant vocal skills and lyrics bursting at the seams with ingenuity. The fact that this out-of-shape vegetarian can keep on par with the very best of underground hip-hop only adds weight to his underdog mystique.
Although not as political as the fiery A Healthy Distrust, Human the Death Dance is more compelling as a complete work, and is an unrelenting assault of imagery that demands your attention for the duration. In the finest tradition of the genre, Sage lobs some powerful bombs at his haters, including:
”8 Mile wasn’t true, shithead / It was a promotional tool, but not for you, shithead”
How can you not love a guy who throws a lyric like that with such authority? And if that doesn’t do it for you, there’s probably no other artist on the planet who could come up with:
“She dangled that carrot and then asked me, ‘What would Bukowski do?’ / Don’t go there, he’d make you his mom / And then completely lie about it in a book later on”.
Human the Death Dance is more abstract than his previous work, and sometimes it seems to be reaching a bit too far, but most of the time it lands dead-center in the sweet spot.
A spot that Sage is now officially very comfortable with.
1. Growing Pains
2. Underground For Dummies
4. Got Up This Morning
5. Good Fashion
6. Clickety Clack
7. Midgets and Giants
8. Broccoli Break
9. High Step
10. Keep Moving
11. Water Line
12. Black Out On White Night
13. Hell Of A Year
14. Call Me Francois
15. Hoofprints In The Sand
16. Going Back To Rehab Powered by Sidelines