Sage Francis has been gifted with a silver tongue and a heart full of rage — a combination that built him a reputation as an opinionated poet who wears his heart on his sleeve. After a four-year hiatus, Sage Francis returns to the mic with Copper Gone. Since his debut album Personal Journals, Francis has used his LPs as a diary, exorcising inner demons and penning editorials on current events. Copper Gone is no exception.
“Pressure Cooker” begins the album with a pissed-off Francis. “They say anger is a gift / I’m very gifted,” Francis warns on this track. He isn’t kidding. On “Grace,” Francis continues channeling this gift. Focusing on an ex’s attack against the state of his mental health, Francis is out to prove he’s not the crazy one. The first part of the album is amped-up and angst-filled, but by the time you get to the middle the tone takes a turn.
“Make them Purr” is Sage at his best, exploring the stage of a break up when anger has faded and loneliness has sunk in. “Thank You” shows an apologetic Francis taking full responsibility for his part in all of this while at the same time accounting for some of the good that came out of this relationship. Copper Gone follows Francis through all the phases of a breakup, and the moments when he makes himself vulnerable and sets aside the anger are the ones that shine here.
Skimming through the lyrics, you’ll find the familiar political jabs and gaffs on pop culture, but they are more of a garnish on this plate; heartbreak is the meat of this meal. Copper Gone is a break up album through and through, a hip hop equivalent of Beck’s Sea Changes or Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, and Francis analyzes every angle of this ill-fated relationship. Anger isn’t the only gift Francis possess, and this is a testament to his wordsmithing gift.