INTERVIEW - Sage Francis: Non-Profit Prophet

By Zachary Franklin

In the words of Sage Francis himself, "A lot of s**t has happened since A Healthy Distrust." The poetic, lyricist, battle MC, political dissident and one-time ice cream server has amassed a collection of thought-provoking songs and molded them into his latest album, Human the Death Dance, out this month on Epitaph Records.

With a collection of compilation albums, the Sick of Waiting series, and two releases under his belt, 2002's Personal Journals and 2004's A Healthy Distrust, Sage has been steadily building his rhyme repertoire. Whereas A Healthy Distrust was more aggressive and provocative, focusing more outwardly toward society, 2007's Human the Death Dance is a reflective album for Sage Francis, and a chance for listeners to discover their own personal freedom.

Sage Francis spoke for the first time in his career to discuss the upcoming release, what listeners can expect to find on the album and the underpinnings of the songs for Human the Death Dance. What's the meaning behind the title of your new album, Human the Death Dance?

Sage Francis: There are a few elements working. It started as a poem by Buddy Wakefield called "Human the Death Dance." But it wasn't a poem he'd written yet. I basically stole it from him. And I put it on my album. The image it provokes works for what I wanted to get across in the album; the human death dance of life. There is a saying that when you're taken away by death, you're supposed to do a dance that represents your life. And also getting to have Buddy Wakefield on the album was a motive to represent that idea. How would you say Human the Death Dance differs from your last album, A Healthy Distrust?

Sage Francis: A Healthy Distrust sonically was more abrasive. I was more aggressive with that album. With Human the Death Dance, I was more laid back and I tried to pull more stories. There are a few breakup songs on the album about relationships, as opposed to A Healthy Distrust, which was more political. Since A Healthy Distrust, a lot of stupid stuff has happened and it came out in my music.

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