Indie Hip Hop stalwart Sage Francis established his own imprint, Strange Famous Records (SFR) in 1996, and since then has brought a bevy of eclectic artists into his Strange family, including B. Dolan, Cecil Otter of Doomtree, Wheelchair Sports Camp and Buck 65.
SFR’s latest signee, Cas One Vs. Figure, is comprised of Evansville, Indiana MC Cas One and prolific EDM producer Figure, who both meld their individual styles into a sonically aggressive body of work. As the duo continues its stint on The Four Horsemen Tour with B. Dolan, Dope KNife and DJ Abilities, Cas One Vs. Figure’s first official video “Staying Gold” has not only made its way to the masses, but its debut album, So Our Egos Don’t Kill Us, has also officially been released, a record that Cas One credits with saving his life.
“When musicians say an album saves their lives, gives them a true purpose and prevents them from suicide when they realize their self worth because of it, that is what this album meant and still means to me,” Cas One tells HipHopDX. “While that is not the narrative of the album, it is the heartbeat of the album.
“I despise sympathy,” he continues. “When I talk about what I went through while making this album, I would be miserable knowing that people sympathized. I adore empathy. I believe that empathy is something that helps the world keep spinning. I want that to be the narrative of the album. I think there is such huge value in people knowing that they’re not the only ones that have those feelings. This album is not about depression, suicide or failure. It is about victory.”
While making the album, Cas went through the pain of a sudden divorce, which was when the SFR mastermind really showed his true colors and offered his unwavering support, something that was invaluable to Cas at the time.
“When Sage learned I went through a divorce, he sent me a card and advanced original copy of my most favorite album of all time then sat on the phone with me for hours while I ran through the story,” he says. “I knew we made the right decision [to sign with SFR] even more so then.”
All of his recent experiences tie into the title of the album and the “Staying Gold” video is a prime example of the sacrifices Cas has made to bring his wildest dreams to fruition.
“[‘Staying Gold’] tells the story of ‘So Our Egos Don’t Kill Us,'” he explains. “The world will try to steal the gold in you, but as long as you know that, they never can, especially when you’re jaded to it. Eric [Hunter] wrote the story of the video to play out like ‘The Outsiders’ meet ‘Pulp Fiction.’ I was shirtless in the freezing cold. I was completely buried while wrapped in a plastic bag. I was bound in the trunk of a car, but I had a blast.”
Perhaps the most alluring part of making music for Cas is that he gets to do it with his best friend, Figure. With his help, he was able to eventually escape the extremely dark place he was mentally trapped in and emerge on the other side of pain — stronger than ever.
“I am content,” he says. “I am happy. I know that Figure and I made an incredible album, and since our egos didn’t kill us, we get to bring it to you.”
So Our Egos Don’t Kill Us is now available in all formats and can be found here.