OCEAN MEETS SAGE FRANCIS
BY WILLIAM JUNGBAUER III
OCEAN - You started distributing music in the mid 90's on tapes and eventually CDs. Now it seems CDs are going out of style as Youtube and Streaming/Downloading music are taking over. In what ways have you had to adjust to distribute Strange Famous/your own music?
SAGE - We still print tapes, CDs, and vinyl but we have to be careful of how many we order. We certainly have to print in lower bulk, and there are boxes of older albums I'll probably never be able to sell, but the overall process is still pretty much the same. We use a distributor to get our albums to the remaining store, we sell merch on the road at shows, and we interact with most of the fans online. I suppose the most recent change we've had to adapt to is how important Spotify has become. So now I have to figure out how to utilize Spotify in a way that engages the fans, but the last thing I really want to do is take on another internet task. That's the world we're in now so there's no sense in me complaining. Somehow I find a way!
OCEAN - The influx of rappers because of YouTube and pay to distribute services has also brought upon the saying that "hip hop is dead". You've been rapping since you were 8 and at age 12 you would sneak out of your house to compete in rap battles, What are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop? and are there any new artists that you enjoy or consider an emcee?
SAGE - People have been saying hiphop is dead for ages now. Hiphop isn't just one thing and I think anyone would be hard pressed to give a great definition of it. One sort of hiphop is thriving while another form of hiphop is fading, but it can swing in various ways. It's ever growing and ever changing. I'm not all that fond of the newer styles I've been hearing because I'm a lyricist. That's my focus when listening to people rap, so I definitely appreciate people like Kendrick Lamar.
OCEAN - Kendrick, just like you, mixes politics into his music. You started a new group with B.Dolan called Epic Beard Men and released "War on Christmas" last year which pokes fun at religion, consumers and capitalism. Are you or your group working on any singles that talk about the current state of politics (donald trump/civil rights/net neutrality/gun rights)?
SAGE - There's a lot of politics and socio-political commentary in our lyrics, but I wouldn't say they're as on-the-nose as War on Christmas was. I prefer to be more sneaky in tackling that kind of subject matter as of late and I think B prefers to tackle the matters head on, so we get into conceptual tug-of-wars sometimes. haha. But the 8 song EP we're dropping in March (called "Season 1") is more punchy, fun, and rap-heavy than it is political. Except for maybe one song, which is step-by-step breakdown of how to take over private country clubs.
OCEAN - How many country clubs do you own now and can I come visit?"
SAGE - I own a golf bag. I inherited it. You can't have it.
OCEAN - hahaha do you golf?
SAGE - Well, B. Dolan and I like to get together from time to time and play Shotgun Golf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUvQo13yuAw
OCEAN - Is there any meaning behind the name 'Season 1' other than just being the 1st tape y’all dropped as Epic Beard Men?
SAGE - We decided our EPs and/or mixtapes will be labeled Season 1, Season 2, and so on with all the cover art being a reference to some TV or internet series we're fans of. I feel like that's a good way to differentiate from the official album.
OCEAN - Will the EP have any features?
SAGE - The only guest verse we have on the EP is from Dope KNife. We have production and scratches from Reanimator, Alias, DJ Swab, Le Parasite, Mr. Dibbs, and some others.
OCEAN - And how bout the Album, When does it drop? And can we get the details on features and production for that as well?
SAGE - I'm not sure of the exact date at this moment, but it'll drop in October. There will be a lot more features that I'm pretty excited about. That's all I can say about it right now.
OCEAN - You start your tour this March, are any cool guest performers traveling with y’all or on the bill anywhere?
SAGE - There will be different openers in each city we play for this tour, and that's the way it'll be right up until October at which point we'll have a fully packaged tour to promote the album. We're still trying to figure out who will open on these upcoming shows but I know Seez Mics and Height are on the Baltimore show. Diabolic is on the Long Island show. And, man, there's just a ton of people so people can check out the full list of info once it's listed at www.EpicBeardMen.com
OCEAN - OK, last question. I was kinda bummed you weren’t coming to Minneapolis or St Paul, and I also read that you have #NoLove for cities you weren’t going to tour in, why and what can we do to get the love back here in the twin cities?
SAGE - We have the midwest tour in the works. It's not easy to be in all places at once. Haha. But we've got crazy love for the Twin Cities. In fact, some MN emcees may appear on the album. Maybe not though. That's what we call a big market tease right there.
SAGE FRANCIS IS AN EMCEE, POET, AND AN OG IN THE HIP HOP SCENE AND I AM HONORED TO HAVE INTERVIEWED HIM. HE IS A LEGEND AND IF YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF HIM, CHECK OUT HIS WORK. YOU WONT BE DIsappOINTED. check out his music on his website at
MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD "SEASON 1" FOR FREE;
AND FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER;
(NOTE - SEASON 1 WAS NOT RELEASED AT TIME OF INTERVIEW)