4 November, 2003@12:00 am
HHS: What’s Up Sage?
Sage: Hey Pizzo.
HHS: Nice album, The Non-Prophets “Hope”.
Sage: Yeah? Thanks….
HHS: That’s some fuckin’ hip-hop shit man!! You are all over the place; crazy with the classic throwback references….
Sage: Yeah, that’s the easiest kind of album for me to make. Heh… I guess I will make more later on…
HHS: So what’s with Jesus on the cover of Hope, I’m just curious, because I thought you were not into religion? I kind of got that (your old song) “Climb Trees” was against it.
Sage: Lots of ties… it’s a big part of life. I am very anti-religious – hence, Non-Prophets.
HHS: But why a prophet on the cover then?
Sage: It’s a reference. The Rhode Island logo is an anchor with stars around it. This is a RI album….Me, Joe (Beats) and Mek-A-Lek (are) all from the same area. RI is a religious place. I grew up with a bunch of Christians and had to deal with all that religious stigma. So now I rebel against it because I see how much it fucked people up. Just as much as drugs. The top of the cross says “INRI”, “In Rhode Island”, for our purposes.
HHS: Can you shed a little bit of light on the track, “The Cure”?
Sage: “The Cure” is the album’s closer. It takes a step back from all that just happened on the album and gets really real for a couple minutes. It brings back some real life issues for me. Because after all the laughs and partying there are some serious issues of life for us to deal with. A sickness – my answer lies in a female.
HHS: How would you say the character Xaul Zan compares to Sage Francis in “real life”
Sage: In REAL life? Ha-ha. Xaul Zan and Sage Francis are both their own characters. Xaul Zan had to be created BECAUSE it didn’t fit in with the Sage Francis agenda. They are contrasts.
HHS: Can we expect an album from Xaul one day?
Sage: You can expect a TAPE ONLY release entitled Hiss Sessions at some point.
HHS: Please let me know.
SAGE: No one will know
HHS: So being that Personal Journals was such an introspective album, why did you choose to do the opposite with the NP’s album – with more lyrical styling, almost showing off your skill?
Sage: That’s the way I operate. It’s the only approach that made sense to me. No one wants to hear Personal Journals part 2 after part 1 just came out. And I wanted Hope to be the answer to all the critics who falsely judged me, my origins and my abilities based on Personal Journals (an album I will still stick by til the end.)
HHS: What did you mean when you said “I’m not the one sitting in a barbarian chair with Rastafarian hair”?
HHS: Aw man….
Sage: It’s a Jeru reference.
HHS: So next question, why are you picking a fight with Jeru?
Sage: He dissed me and Premier in that “Friends” song.
HHS: (Laughs) Why did you choose the title Hope for the album?
Sage: That is the Rhode Island motto. But that’s not the only reason. It also ties in with the religious imagery. I don’t have faith, unfortunately. The only thing I have in this world and the one word that keeps poping up in my vocabulary when talking about things and people I care about is “Hope”.
HHS: So you are signed to Epitaph now, what can we expect from the album?
Sage: You can expect some fire. Less fun than Hope. More political, more angry than Personal Journals, more outrospective.
HHS: Okay, so the song “Disasters” is hilarious in its own right – but do you really hate children?
Sage: Man, I really, really do. I hate them. They are all over. Crying, whining, shitting on things. Fucking helpless beings. I hate all things that I once was I guess.
HHS: So on “Mainstream” you kind of dismiss the commercial scene, but then on “That Ain’t Right” you say “African medallions didn’t sell platinum albums, that’s the reason you say hip-hop died”. So do you feel hip-hop is dead in a commercial sense, only living in the underground or…? Basically shed some light for me on your thoughts on today’s hip-hop?
Sage: No, my comment was directed at all the fools talking about “hip-hop is dead” or “hip-hop is dying.” Gimme a break. Hip-hop is dead??? The shit has permeated ever single crevasse of this Earth. I have been to piss poor cafes in broken down towns of destitute countries and they are playing hiphop on the radio. That doesn’t mean hiphop is great, but it is alive. And as long as it is alive there will be people who use it for the right reasons. It is a tool. What a person uses the tool for all depends on them and their situation
HHS: Thats a good philosophy. I hate people who whine about hip-hop is dead. I like major and indy shit, you just gotta sort through the bullshit and find what you like – fuck what anyone else thinks. So what’s the story on the message about Joe Beats being a selfish little asshole?
Sage: I don’t understand
HHS: That answering machine message skit.
Sage: HAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. That is a REAL LIFE message…. People will always wonder about it. Oh man. Man, that was his fucking BROTHER calling him to bitch at him about not making it to his going-away party. It is so god damn classic. We were recording the Hope album and he plays me the message while we were in the studio. My eyes lit up. The shit was too classic to not use on the album. Apparently, Joe’s brother was moving to Florida and Joe didn’t attend his going away party because he was spending time with his girlfriend. By the time he headed over to the party he received some voicemail messages from random people at the party. His brother’s message was the shit though.
HHS: Can you shed some light on “Spaceman”?
Sage: Quite literally…that is a song about being in outerspace. But…with a MICROPHONE!
Sage: Yeah…right? That is the sleeper hit of the album though, after a few listens it is sure to grow on you. It is nuanced.
HHS: So how possible will it be for you fulfill your dreams mentioned on “Fresh”, linking up with Rick Rubin and Sam Sever for an album – will you make this happen?
Sage: I don’t think that is out of the question. At all. In fact, Rick Rubin has done other albums for Epitaph. And Sam Sever produced an album for a friend of mine named Beau Sia. I’ll be going for Rick Rubin first. And I will be holding an 808 with some rock records.
HHS: Okay last question – what can we expect from you in the future – do you have other projects you will pursue outside of the Epitaph album?
Sage: I am doing the Fuck Clear Channel Tour in the spring, hitting up all the major cities in the USA. I am featured on a DJ Signify album with Buck 65 called Sleep No More which will drop in March on Lex Records. Slug and I were talking about doing an album together but that discussion has been going on for a long time. I will be putting out another independent CD called Sickly Business (probably in the spring.) And by the time the Epitaph album comes out I will be on the Wapred Tour.
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