Sage Francis
Personal Journals


4.5
superb

Review

by Simon Harris (SCREAM!) USER (56 Reviews)
October 28th, 2010 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A journey into the mind of a Sage

Sage Francis released Personal Journals in 2002 and pretty much revolutionized the indie hip-hop scene. Until then the scene had been somewhat of a counter-culture to mainstream hip-hop in the way it discussed social issues and sometimes found itself attacking mainstream distributors (major labels, MTV, etc). On Personal Journals, Sage Francis discusses himself but he does it without ever sounding boastful or self-centered. He lays his life, his experiences and his emotions bare on a slate for the listener to pick at and dissect and in the process creates a musical journey unlike any other.

With roots laying in spoken word (slam poetry) it isn’t hard to see where Sage gets his ease with words. But these influences aren’t only seen in his ingenious lyricism but also in the way he uses his beats. A song will often start with a calm, almost minimalist beat that gives the front stage to Sage’s poetry and will slowly build alongside Sage’s enthusiasm and ferocity on the mic. But even at his fiercest, Sage delivers every syllable clearly, articulating his intricate verses with steady flow and raw emotional strain that adds only more sting to his often provocative content.

Crack Pipes, an interesting piece about addiction and rehabilitation flows right into the song Different that can be considered Sage’s invitation to the listener to enter his mind. It can be describe quite literally as a very condensed autobiography and features some almost quirky passages like: “I'm a real vegetarian: No chicken...not even fish; I'm a real underground rapper; My tape quality sucks, my records are warped and my CD skips” next to more thought provoking passages like: “I talk with authority while I question it; When I ask, "Who am I?" I'm left guessing; But if you're a poor man's version of ANYTHING
It is your self-perception” and is the perfect way to introduce what is to follow. Sage flows from song to song, exploring news aspects of his life with each, exorcising his demons one at a time and telling the stories in an almost narrative way that can make it easy to forget that he is even rapping. From the heart wrenching Inherited Scars that deals with his sister’s self mutilation, to the darkness of Eviction Notice that paints a picture of succumbing to drug abuse and relationships crumbling, Sage crafts deep portraits of life without censoring the “gory” details.

Personal Journals is quite literally an experience in itself. The themes are presented intelligently and are the type of troubles that can be related to by many. Truly taking in the album can be a draining experience but a satisfying one at the same time. While Sage exorcises his own demons, he has a similar effect on the listener, an almost therapeutic effect of calming and reassuring. This is the album where Sage Francis made a name for himself, a name he has been able to keep for years although his quality has gone way down since. Just because this album is that ***ing powerful.



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user ratings (166)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Richard Craig (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SCREAM!
October 28th 2010


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

been meaning to try my hand at hip-hop reviewing for a while. Hope this turned out decent

Inveigh
October 28th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review man, this album is so much better than anything else he ever did

also, 'recommended by reviewer' album is sex

SCREAM!
October 28th 2010


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

youve heard the prolyphic & reanimator one? I never hear anyone talking about it here but its so great

Inveigh
October 28th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh no haha I left "album" singular because I was only referring to OG 11:11

I'll have to look into the other album, I've never even heard of it

SCREAM!
October 28th 2010


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ive been trying to rec it around on hip hop lists but it always ends up getting lost in the sea of recs. Def look into it, i think it would be up your alley

jingledeath
October 28th 2010


7104 Comments


Good one, probably not gonna check this out anytime soon though.

cvlts
October 28th 2010


8967 Comments


rules

BigHans
October 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album kills, Crack Pipes, Broken Wings, and Inherited Scars ftmfw

SCREAM!
October 28th 2010


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

here i go
my name is straaaaaaaaaaaaaange

Inveigh
October 28th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just checked Butler's review of Prolyphic & Reanimator, sounds dope. can't believe I haven't listened to them before, seeing as I've been fairly familiar with Reanimator's stuff over the years

SCREAM!
October 28th 2010


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xogbZTzapCg



Inveigh
October 28th 2010


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn, will have to watch after I get home tonight

ConsiderPhlebas
October 28th 2010


6157 Comments


Sweet review. One of my favourite hip-hip albums.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2010


8371 Comments


Good review Simon, though I think something's not quite right with your opening sentence. Either way, pos'd

SCREAM!
October 28th 2010


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good call on the first sentence. added the and in there

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2010


8371 Comments


haha, maybe you should test the waters more often, as I think this is a lot better than your last review was. In fact, I think this is one of your best yet.

Gyromania
October 28th 2010


15941 Comments


Good review, Simon.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2010


31362 Comments


Nice review dude

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

MCGF
October 29th 2010


361 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album deserves all the hype it gets, nice review



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