Sage Francis Looks Back On Esoteric Battle

The legendary battle rapper reminisces on the 1999 Super Bowl Battle.

Yesterday we dug into the archives to talk about the classic battle from 1999 between Sage Francis and Esoteric. Today, we bring you the thoughts from one of the competitors himself.

Here's what Sage Francis sent us about the battle:

The 1999 Super Bowl Battle consisted of everyone who was doing anything in New England's hip-hop scene. Winning that battle definitely kicked off a lot of major steps in my career, but that's mainly because no one really knew who I was outside of Rhode Island. It was a surprise attack and it was pretty much the quintessential underdog victory story. To everyone's credit, including Esoteric, the only thing they knew about me is that I did spoken word and I had a radio show. As a radio host, and as a fan, I knew a lot about everyone I was battling. Not only that, but I was battling regularly in Providence for months leading up to this event. It was a big deal to me. Not that it wasn't a big deal to others, but I think I was the one who went full "gym class hero" while almost everyone else was in chill mode. In retrospect it may seem like my energy was a LITTLE over the top, but considering how skinny I was you can only imagine how hungry I was at the time.

After winning the final round I stepped off the stage to a group hug and pats on the head from all the participants. I still think about that from time to time. It was as sweet as it was condescending. Haha nah, it meant a lot to me even though I suspect a lot of them were cursing me out under their breath. None of us ever worked together but I did tour with Akrobatik and Mr. Lif almost a decade later.

Last thing I want to mention is that none of this would be talked about if it wasn't for my video camera. The video that is posted on YouTube was from my video camera which was stolen from me a couple months after the battle. It's the only footage that exists, so I'd like to thank whoever stole my shit for bootlegging the material so that it could then end up on YouTube many years later. You're still a steaming pile of shit though.

Cover image via Sage Francis' Instagram.