One day, seemingly out of the blue, Sage The Gemini performed on David Letterman’s Late Show, and it was clear that this newcomer was affiliated with IamSu’s Heartbreak Gang. Though he had steadily been building his buzz, the clan co-sign indicated a meteoric rise to popularity that some hadn’t seen coming.
But after collaborating with IamSu on mega-hit “Gas Pedal” – and probably after confiding in Su that Su is his favorite rapper – Sage received an invite from Suzy to join HBK Gang. And really, as indicated by his debut album, Remember Me, Sage sounds like he’s been a member for ages. Then again, blending in as he does doesn’t necessarily equate to creating a lasting or particularly good album.
1. All the songs sound the same.
He knows what works for him, and doesn’t deviate from it. After all, “Red Nose” went Gold, and “Gas Pedal” was certified Platinum. How many other rappers can boast that in this day and age?
Unfortunately, “Remember Me,” “Bad Girls,” and “Go Somewhere,” which are the first three songs on the project, could be one in the same because they are barely distinguishable from one another. While they all feature that new-age Bay Area bounce to them (hooks that hinge on two words, and the medium tempo), 16 tracks of the same sound over and over will wear listeners’ patience thin.
2. Most of the songs also lack substance.
Who is Sage The Gemini? Where did he explode from? Both of those are two questions that don’t have a clear answer after listening to the album (and no, being from The Bay doesn’t count as an answer for the latter). This is relevant because for the people who are only recently hip to the kid, we’d like to know more.
“Put Me On” is the rare instance where the listener learns about his struggle as a kid and making music. It feels fully rounded, with him exploring his early struggles while offering advice to some up and comers (“the message for you niggas when I’m done and at home is don’t be hatin’ when I can’t help put you on/ strive for the spot til the struggle is gone, but even then work hard til the struggle is foreign”). “Put Me On” features substance, and a defined story, whereas “Remember Me” and most of the other songs, fall short.
3. The strongest cuts feature IamSu.
Maybe we’re hungering for IamSu’s verses, or maybe it’s the blandness of Remember Me as a whole, but the HBK leader brings his A Game to his appearances. With three features (four counting the remix of “Gas Pedal”), IamSu practically becomes a regular. Everything he does is just a bit better: he’s a little funnier, a little more charismatic, and a little more entertaining, particularly on “Go Somewhere” and “Mad At Me.”
4. Sage The Gemini thinks “Gas Pedal” is the bottom of his repertoire, but it’s the only song worth remembering from this record.
He’s wrong. On “Gas Pedal,” he fully embraces what works for him. Everything about it is catchy, it still bangs in clubs, and still elicits an excited response from the crowd. Even though an earlier gripe about the record is that it lacks substance, “Gas Pedal” is immune to that because it’s simply a great song. Whereas the rest of the album falls short, with him staying in his lane and simping it out, this track has plenty of replay value and is as good as the day it came out.