A Healthy Distrust - Sage Francis

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. He doesn't plunder, he interweaves - stuff gets thoroughly snake-charmed into his densely-packed music.
  2. His talents seemingly know no bounds, and A Healthy Distrust is as close as he’s come to fully realising such a dominating on-stage character on a recorded format.
  3. A Healthy Distrust is impressively fluid; Francis fuses his experimental leanings and newer mainstream hip-hop allowances with ease.
  4. At once stern and playful, wildly scattered and yet sharply honed by the artist's sheer will and reach. [6 Feb 2005]
  5. 86
    Francis... [is] a complex, fantastically literate and genuine wordsmith and poet. [#14, p.99]
  6. Sage Francis is obviously not for everyone. Though he is a gifted lyricist, he is hard to follow, and the entirety of "A Healthy Distrust" has a rough edge that makes it far from easy listening.
  7. The rapper's ferocity makes him a good fit for punk label Epitaph. [11 Feb 2005, p.63]
  8. His style has finally caught up with his intellect, and while his beats are passable but unexceptional, his voice locks onto and scans over them so ferociously they're almost obliterated.
  9. 80
    Cements his reputation for fast, witty, lyrically dense politico-personal rhymes. [Mar 2005, p.99]
  10. Overall, the Sage may be polemical on a level like few other than Dead Prez, but he also has a metaphysical side matched by few other than Jeru tha Damaja.
  11. Distrust is crucial not only as the resurrection of the passion and soul of hip-hop in the face of the overwhelming monetary success of pop-hop, but as a vital questioning of feudal policy, raising awareness, and sounding good doing it.
  12. There are certain instances when Francis' politics overreach, like on the annoying "Dance Monkey,” but for the most part, “A Healthy Distrust” is this artist's most impressive album yet.
  13. Sage transcends genre limitations and expectations with restless energy and poetic turns of phrase that keep his mystery (or, arguably, his lack of defined answers) intriguing rather than irritating.
  14. On A Healthy Distrust his delivery has noticeably improved.
  15. A Healthy Distrust reinforces Sage Francis’ standing as one of the most verbally gifted rappers currently in the game, but it lacks the cohesive flow of Personal Journals and complains about a host of worldly ills without offering much in the way of a positive solution.
  16. A Healthy Distrust’s production and wordplay have improved to such a large degree that it’s hard to believe that it could happen again on the next outing.
  17. 70
    A Healthy Distrust turns his scouring insight upon America's turbulent recent history, the response of a vulnerable, impassioned, imperfect man. [Mar 2005, p.106]
  18. 70
    His fire-and-brimstone confessionals are as complex as they are venomous. [Mar 2005, p.140]
  19. 70
    If you're over 25, then expect to find yourself peering at your old teen angst like some sort of barely remembered dream. [Jan/Feb 2005, p.95]
  20. It is uncompromising, brutally honest... and adroit at melding many genres together without losing sight of the fact it is first a hip-hop record.
  21. It’s a virulent mixture of political discourse, political polemic, self-aggrandizement, self-diminution, childish humor, and intelligent irony; but, above all, everything is pulled off with undeniable character.
  22. The record makes you marinate in Francis' omni-loathing, and the effect is one of catharsis rather than exhaustion. [#254, p.57]
  23. It's often hugely clever... but tends to forget that the best metaphors are the ones that make you crack involuntary smiles, not the ones that require five minutes and a dictionary. [26 Feb 2005, p.66]
  24. Finds him in fine rhyming form... even if the beats aren't always there to back him up. [Mar 2005, p.104]
  25. If he isn't a sage yet, he does sound like a future star. [Feb 2005, p.94]
  26. His weighty messages are duly noted. Unfortunately, they're delivered so acrimoniously that the overwhelming lack of fun in the music makes his albums a chore to listen to.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. RichardH
    May 15, 2007
    An absolute classic. I can still listen to this disk all the way through without skipping a single track. This disk 'bottles' Sage's stage presence better than any of his other studio efforts. Forget that he's a 'white rapper', his flow is lava and you can't deny it. Full Review »
  2. Jeremy
    Sep 15, 2005
    "Contemporary house of pain" - who the ef is this clown? Unfortunately those who cannot think for themselves talk far too much. Thanks again sage.
  3. Mike
    Sep 15, 2005
    Album is great. Exactly what I look for in my music, expression.