Sage Francis

Breaking down the barriers of music with his unique political
flows, Sage Francis provides an alternative to the corporate
sponsored playlists of played out party music and old school
hooks. A member of the Rhode Island based Non-Prophets, and
AOI, he has performed for crowds across the nation and has
won numerous emcee battles. Appealing to music fanatics
ranging from punk rockers to hard core hip hop fans, Sage
Francis has become a strong presence throughout the
underground hip hop scene and is someone definitely to look
out for. I first found out about Sage Francis in 1999 when I saw
him open for Cage at a show in New Jersey. This is an
interview I did with Sage in late 2002

You just signed a 3 album deal Epitaph Records, a label which primarily is known for its punk
rock artists such as Bad Religion and Pennywise. How do you think your style of hip hop will go
over with the punk rock crowd?
Obviously the whole punk world is not going to accept me with open arms, but there is a huge
punk contingent who pride themselves on being intelligent, open minded and progressive
individuals. These are the people I am targeting. Punk rockers have been attending my shows and
supporting my music for years now. They’ve been sharing their ideas with me, and they’ve taught
me things. I’m grateful for their scene and their music. It can work out just fine. But if the fact that my
message is delivered through rap determines whether someone can enjoy me or not, good
riddance. I can and will be selective with the people I include in my life, fans included.

Your latest solo album, Personal Journals, includes a lot of sincere liner notes about your
relationships with your family, particularly your mother. How did she respond to your signing
with Epitaph?
My mother is quite oblivious to the whole politics or business of the music world, as you might
expect. I let her know that all the work I have been putting into my music is finally paying off. She is
very happy for me and proud of my accomplishments. The conversation was literally one minute
long. I’d rather talk to her about sailboats than my music career.

There’s been rumors of the highly anticipated Non Prophets album dropping in the late fall.
What can we expect from this release and when will it officially be available?
“HOPE is going to create some ripples in the hiphop world. We picked up where 1994 fell off. It is
funny and smart. The beats are nasty, the choruses are catchy, and it ALL hits hard. Joe Beats did
a phenomenal job in carrying a whole album with top notch production, and his props are long
overdue. Our first single, Bounce, dropped in 1999. This is the logical follow up to that single. It is
going to be released in October.”

The Non Prophets website’s opening page says “natalie portman has a stalker”. Do you have a
thing for Natalie Portman? When did this begin?
No way. It is supposed to say “Natalie Portman IS a stalker.” Someone hacked the damn site. That
girl hasn’t stopped bugging me since the Professional.

You’re a real vegetarian, no chicken not even fish. What made you decide to be a vegetarian?
Have you ever tried meat?
I was raised on meat, like everyone else. It isn’t a choice most of us have. By the time we have the
freedom to CHOOSE what to eat, meat is such a huge part of our eating habits that we don’t even
question it. Just like we don’t question the fabric on our back; where it comes from, how it got
made, why it is expensive/cheap. Seven years ago I made a decision not to eat meat anymore, and
I will not turn back. My mentality switched. Meat repulses me. These animals have eyes, mouths,
hearts, feelings. That shit really gets to me. They are mass produced on factory farms so that we
can buy a piece of their flesh for 50 cents at McDonalds. People are waking up.”

What are some of your favorite foods?
Vegetarian makki. Tempura. Love it. Bagels and hummus. Haha. And of course pizza.

You were just touring in Europe. How was Europe, what was the crowd response like there,
and who did you do shows with?
Europe is responsive. Attentive. Appreciative. They don’t often get to see their favorite artists
perform live, and it’s an absolute pleasure to put on a show for them. I performed with Sole, Dose,
Jel and Dax. We slept in clubs, on floors, and once in a squat. Fuck all that. When I go back to
Europe I demand a pillow.

You’ve made reference in past interviews that 2001 is your death date, and everything after
then is icing on the cake. You wrote a song about faking your death and have t shirts with an
epitaph across the back. What’s behind this?
I have no fucking clue. There was no plan.

The song “masturbate your brain”, you have the line “I just might pull a Kurt Cobain”. Since
Cobain’s supposed suicide in 1994, there’s been private investigators who suspect there was
some foul play involved and Cobain did not actually commit suicide. Any comment?
Well…he did say that he didn’t have a gun. All of a sudden…he has a gun. And Courtney is the
modern day Yoko. But his suicide seemed to make sense, as sad as that is to say. I hope he is
resting well.

You did a song with Eyedea called “Embarrassed”, in which you reflect on your
embarrassment of things you’ve done in the past. What’s your biggest regret?
Shit, man. I regret not kicking it to the girl sitting in front of me during my 10th grade English class. I
regret involving myself in bullshit friendships during that same time period. I regret paying so much
for college. I regret not learning a musical instrument any sooner.

Any plans on working with Eyedea again in the future?
No plans.

“my friends wanna see me fight cause I’m a black belt karate master”..have you studied
martial arts?
That line is blasphemous. Hahaa. Really. I studied from 4th grade until my second year in college.
I became an instructor. I competed and spent most of my free time training. I had aspirations of
being a kick boxer. A decision was made to move away from that life and develop in other areas.
That’s when I got into spoken word and focused on my music career. It’s almost like I traded one
discipline for another. No regrets.

Do you have any phobias?
If I did, I certainly wouldn’t publicize them.

You live a straight edge lifestyle. Were you ever into straight edge hardcore music like Gorilla
Biscuits, Minor Threat, or Earth Crisis?
Ha. Yes, I was. Not big into it, but I know their songs. My friends were huge into those bands. I don’t
use the term straight edge and I hope that description of me dies out like Eminem references. By
the way, thank you for not mentioning him.

Do you own any albums by the Fugees?
No, although the Score is nice to listen to.

What’s happening with AOI? Any new stuff in the works?
That is a completely abandoned project. A couple of the members went on to owning a million
dollar business, another is married with two kids while going for his masters degree in English,
and the drummer plays in a Sublime cover band. I am currently wooing the drummer, trying to get
him into a new band project I am working on. Scott…I woo you.

What’s the all time, best party you’ve been to?
I fucking HATE parties. Sorry. I don’t care who is at them. I was just at a party with ALL my favorite
people. My best friends. I hated it. There is such a strong expectation for socialization at gatherings
like that, and it turns into an anxiety without fail. The best party I have been to? I am at a loss for an

You’ve said in past interviews that you’d like to write scripts and books. What kind of stuff
would you want to write about? Do you have any favorite authors?
I don’t purport to be any sort of novelist. All I want to do is compile my thoughts and ideas in written
form, similar to my Sick of Waiting series. I can make sense of things and relate them to one
another in a unique way. I have some good ideas that I am waiting to implement in a book. I may
need an editor to help me look wicked smart.

Do you believe in life after death?
I am living after so many have died. Thank Gods.

Any final thoughts, comments?
I am not out of reach. If people want to get any updates on my projects or whereabouts, is the place to visit.
Thank you. This was a good interview.