Drawing other people's words and making pictures to go with them is what I do for a living.
Words to sell, to describe, to title, to warn.
Pictures to tell a story, to decorate, to explain.
Off the meter, without art direction or purchase order, the words of a beloved lyricist, rapper and poet are interpreted by the scribbler he inspires. The man writes beautiful pictures - can she paint beautiful words? 'For 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...' (taken from the press release)
The impact of Sage's words on my listening and way of thinking can't be expresssed in a couple of lines on a web page. So here we go anyway. I adore good examples of muscular (ab)use of the English language, and Sage's work is heavily pregnant with them. I thought I knew what a clever metaphor could do till I listened to a little-known rapper's first album a few years back. I knew the exquisite pain of a neck-snapping hip hop tune (play the opening bars of 'Mama Said Knock You Out' to yourself at this point) but always preferred to listen past the words. A lot deserve listening past anyway (DON'T play opening bars of anything by 50 c*nt to yourself at this point, for God's sake) but this wordsmithery was arresting, involved, and so ... naked.
Since then Sage's words have become an ongoing soundtrack to our adventures: cynicism, tragedy, laughing-out-loud, sobriety, politics, and soul-searching.
'I played connect-the-dots with your beauty marks,
and ended up with picture-perfect sheet music...you can still hear me humming your nudity under my breath' (Hopeless)
'Pardon me, but is that ME wearing my hard-on on my sleeve?'
Sage's songs are strewn with tiny linguistic gems and white-hot pin-pricks of personal expression, leaving the hip-poppers littering their charts with fake diamonds and teeth.
And if being reduced to tears or smarting from a sharp political smack round the chops isn't enough to remind you you're alive, his beats'll do it for you. As I said: there isn't enough space here.
I wish I had written the words, but I didn't; I can only pick up the crayons and scribble hard at what they conjure. It didn't take long for this idea to evolve, and the outcome is not yet known, but it's going to take more pictures and m0re day trips out of the comfort zone before I can say I've done this man's work justice.
'I'm walking tightropes without big toes'
... and I'll continue to wobble up there till it's out of my system.
To see what keeps me occupied during daylight hours, go here:
Read about Sage Francis