Sage Francis 

Human the Death Dance

Rapper Sage Francis can be an asshole. That's the only way to explain a sardonic two-thousand-word response to a post on the MySpace blog of MC Serch, pioneering Caucasian rapper and host of VH1's Caucasian-baiting Ego Trip's The (White) Rapper Show. Francis has a habit of attacking high-profile hip-hop artists who are oblivious to his existence, from speculating on Common schooling Kanye West in spirituality to a verse reworking Jay-Z's "99 Problems" that ends with If you hate hip-hop, I feel bad for you, son/I like 99 rappers, but Jay-Z ain't one. Francis' version actually is pretty good, and helps validate his own presence within the culture. He provides a means for people who would otherwise have zero interest in hip-hop to become fans. The "I'm not really into Nas or Ghostface, but I love Sage Francis" sort of thing. If this is you, then Human the Death Dance doesn't disappoint. Francis is one of the more challenging lyric writers in any genre, whether railing against an industry in which he works hard to be a success on "Midgets and Giants" or walking us through two breakup songs about the same relationship with "Keep Moving" and "Black Out on White Night." "I wrote those songs under different conditions, different mindsets, and in different places," he explains. It's a lot to keep up with, but for those who like their thinking man's rap well thought out, Sage Francis is as smart as they come.


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