by somberlain USER (64 Reviews)
January 25th, 2011 | 10 replies

Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The fun, less serious side of Sage Francis

Hope is a good companion to Personal Journalsbecause it shows what existed even before I branched off into the non-traditional styles of hip-hop. It is an answer to all the critics who thought Sage Francis didn't have the basics down, and it was a great way to display some fundamental skill while expanding upon them. Sometimes it's necessary to backpedal a bit and reconnect with your roots.” ---Sage Francis

At the time when Hope was released, Sage Francis had only released one proper album, Personal Journals, and a series of mixtapes. His debut album was highly personal (as the name implies) and his style was mostly dismissed as “emo-rap”. For Hope, Sage Francis joins forces with producer Joe Beats and shows a very different side that would not really fit under his own name thus it was appropriate that they name this collaboration something else: Non-Prophets.

On Hope, Sage Francis pays homage to the hip-hop that he and Joe Beats grew up on and that got them involved with the genre, it’s a tribute to the golden age of hip-hop and an indictment on the state of it circa 2003. On ‘Mainstream 307’, he shows what may have been his motivation for this album: “I don’t wanna be famous like the artists on your playlist, the more emotion I put into it the harder they diss” then goes on to say “While I’m busting dope lines I misquoted and you might think I wrote it”. Sage goes on to (mis)quote rappers like O.C., Ice-T, The Beastie Boys, Dr. Octagon and Rakim adding his own twist to the lyrics of these old school rappers. Producer Joe Beats joins Sage in this homage to hip-hop’s golden era by using vocal samples from Mobb Deep, Big Daddy Kane and Black Sheep. Sage is clearly just having fun on this album yet his more conscious side makes appearances here and there as on ‘That Ain’t Right’ with the line “I attended candlelight vigils for Matthew Sheppard while you put out another “fuck you, faggot” record.” ‘The Cure’ is the most Sage-like song over Joe Beats’ melancholic horns and the hook: “When a boy writes off the world it’s done with sloppy misspelled words, If a girl writes off the world it’s done in cursive.” ‘The Cure’ is a very heartfelt song that would not have been out of place on Personal Journals.

The flow of Hope is seamless, having only one producer gives the album great cohesiveness. In this day and age, it is extremely rare to have a hip hop album with only one producer and it’s even more rare to have an album with only one MC also but Sage proves that he doesn’t need any guest spots to help him out as he is excellent on the mic and has plenty to say.

Hope shows that Sage shows is extremely well versed in old school hip-hop and the listener needs to have a similarly thorough knowledge of hip-hop in order to be able to catch some of the obscure references he makes. Although an encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop may be required to pick out the (mis)quoted lines on Hope, it certainly isn’t a requirement for enjoying the album because that will happen regardless of the amount of references you can decipher. On Hope, Joe Beats and Sage Francis take hip-hop back to it’s essence when it was all about just having fun, you can tell they had fun with this album and you will have fun listening to it.

Recommended tracks:
Mainstream 307
The Cure
Xaul Zan's Heart

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user ratings (27)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 25th 2011


I will remove the cross -
that dangles in the cleavage -
Of every Christian chick who thinks their tits are saving Jesus

the wordplay on 'Xaul Zan's Heart' is superb

January 25th 2011


don't you see how fucking beautiful life is?
how dare you waste it stuck in a cubicle with tight lips
stand up
push out your chair.
jump on your desk
and if you've got a crush on your coworker
touch her breasts

January 25th 2011


nice to see someone else on here knows this album

January 26th 2011


I love the cure but I still haven't heard the full album.. I gotta get on this.

January 26th 2011


once again, this doesnt really seem like my thing but an outstanding review nonetheless. sounds like a fun album / easy to get into so maybe i should check it out anyway

Digging: Belle and Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems Pt. 1

January 26th 2011


whoa a somberlain review! nicely done, sir. I heard about this a long time ago but never looked into it, I'll change that soon.

Digging: Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time

January 26th 2011


Some of Sage's best work on here. Forgot to say the review is ace.

January 26th 2011


give it a spin Sowing, you might enjoy it

Inveigh: check it out just don't expect another Personal Journals, this couldn't be more different from that

July 30th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

the refrains on this are laughably bad but the rest is good

July 19th 2013


It needs to be known how much fucking fun this album is. Nice review as well.

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