“Two years ago, a friend of mine asked me to say some MC rhymes…”
NOT really, but a few months ago a friend asked if I planned to see an MC, Sage Francis at his Cardiff show.
So I said ‘not sure’ as Francis wasn’t a rapper I’d checked for but come last Sunday night, (October 19) a hip hop gig at a local venue was too good to turn down.
Unfortunately our late arrival and Francis arriving on stage just before 9pm meant having to find space behind a wall of mostly bearded men which filled the entire space between the stage and the bar.
Francis’ lyrics reflect on loneliness and anxiety and there is often a religious undertone. On stage he cuts a solitary figure, stood at the centre, hoodie pulled up and wearing his Strange Famous record label flag like a cloak.
Without a DJ the Rhode Islander performs to his backing tracks loaded onto his laptop. “DJ Spin 2.0, the backbone of this independent hip hop,” he jokes as he has to lean forward and press the space bar.
For Francis beats are secondary to the lyrics and when some spoken word tracks are performed snippets of conversations in the packed crowd can be overheard.
A quick cameo from British wordsmith Scroobius Pip saw the pace and volume ramped up and Francis kept up the intensity with ‘Damage’.
A little over an hour after coming on stage Francis performed ‘The Best of Times’, with its bright video projected on the screen behind him and the crowd rapping and clapping along for an almost cathartic close.