As a non-bearded Englishman Buddy Peace is something of an oddity for Sage Francis’ Strange Famous Records. The label is packed with such hirsute talent that the artist roster resembles a scene from the International Bear convention (and yet somehow Vibe magazine failed to mention a single SF act in their 20 coolest beards in Hip-hop list).
Buddy’s latest Strange Famous release pairs him with Rhode Island emcee Prolyphic, who despite his name has kept fans waiting five years for the follow up to 2008′s “The Ugly Truth“. “Working Man“ tells a tale of family turmoil, cancer scares, lack of health care and unemployment woes set to Peace’s obscure loops and dusty breaks.
It doesn’t pull its punches, “Drug Dealer” talks about doctors pushing pharmaceutical products on his mother to treat her cancer, and why her ultimate decision was to refuse them. While “Six Feet High” tells the story of his father losing the family business in the New England Floods. The first single “Business As Usual” is available as a free download and races along with a bouncing beat that belies any idea the album might be an entirely sombre affair.
Peace has also remixed label mate B. Dolan’s “Fallen House, Sunken City” LP. Using acapella’s and psych rock samples, he mailed it to a surprised B.Dolan after they’d finished work on their “House Of Bee’s Vol II” album with the message “Thanks for everything, B. Here’s an lp I made ya. No big deal.”
On World Aids Day, Strange Famous Supremo Sage Francis released a single in aid of children he’d visited in South Africa, it somehow passed me by at the time but here’s Sage explaining the story behind the track:
“In January of 2011 I visited Durban, South Africa to help mentor and provide care for HIV-infected children. For me, it was a crash course education on their situation, culture, history, and various forms of treatment (or lack there of.) With a reported 5.6 million people living with HIV, South Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. That is mainly due to misinformation propagated by the government as well as the people’s lack of access to education and proper medical care. With so many people dying of AIDS in this area, many children are often left to fend for themselves in overcrowded “orphanages”, many of which have no electricity or running water according to what I witnessed.
My trip to Durban and the surrounding rural areas was organized by people who were filming a documentary on a community of people who were receiving alternative treatment along with their normal ARV (anti-retroviral) treatment. I joined a group of national and international poets whose task it was to make a connection with the children and communicate their story to the world. Toward the end of my stay I wrote a song called UBUNTU (Water Into Wine) which I was initially hoping to release as a companion piece to the film. The documentary will probably do a much better job of explaining the vast array of emotions we all went through, but as it still isn’t completed I figured it might be best to just release the song now.
The artwork for UBUNTU is a portrait of Nonoti, one of the younger girls who made a deep and everlasting impression on everyone she met. We lost Nonoti to HIV-related complications earlier this year, so along with the children I name in this song, and all the great people I met during my stay in Durban, a special dedication goes out to her (R.I.P.)”
Download the song at: tinyurl.com/SageFrancisUbuntu - Name your own price. Proceeds will go toward helping the children addressed in it.
Finally while on the subject of Strange Famous and Buddy Peace, here are three oldies but goldies from the vault, most of which can be nabbed for free.
Firstly because I’m off to the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A later here’s “Strange Fame” which finds Sage Francis rocking over the Thin White Duke’s “Fame.” Then there’s the Buddy Peace remix of Rozi Plain’s “Humans”, as featured in 2012′s best tracks of the year. Rozi has one of the finest and most recognisable voices around and deserves to be a star.
Lastly the WarrenPeace mix that comes as a bonus track on Polar Bear’s “At Home With Polar” album (available on Speech Development)
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