A Healthy Distrust

Sage Francis. <i>Epitaph</i>.

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Iconoclastic rapper Sage Francis is angry—at himself, at hip-hop, at the world—and isn’t about to hold his tongue. While only a practiced listener could keep up with the torrent of words this poetry-slam veteran unleashes on A Healthy Distrust, it’s well worth the effort. Driven by hard, sputtering grooves too brutal to be called funky, he mocks mass-culture intoxication in “The Buzz Kill,” shouts “Call a stop to the abuse of authority” in “Slow Down Gandhi,” and riffs on America’s gun fetish in “Gunz Yo,” calling his weapon “an extension of my manhood.” Francis isn’t subtle and his passionate outbursts can overwhelm the message, but he’s riveting from the first pissed-off beat to the last.

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