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"A lot of the success I've attained has been via word-of-mouth," he said when we caught up a few weeks ago. "I really like the notion of being 'discovered' as opposed to trying sell myself on some EPMD 'Please Listen to My Demo' shit."

Talk about a Renaissance Man repping our Renaissance City: PVD-bred DJ-turned-wordsmith THEO MARTINS ( landed a role in the Academy Award-nominated film Amistad at age 9 and has since appeared in plenty of photo shoots (including Karmaloop) and garnered national props from Complex and GQ magazines behind his You Can't Do That On Television EP (2010) and Sincerely Yours, the Dance Floor, and recently dropped another buzzworthy album titled Wonderland. Diversity is Theo's forte, evidenced by the three leadoff cuts, "Wonderland," "Blue Valentine," and "Labyrinths." Theo's new single "Killer" made its premiere on BET's 106 & Park last week. Download a copy of Wonderland at iTunes.

"You're going to see a lot more of Juan Deuce and myself in 2012," renowned beatsmith/producer Falside told me in December 2011, and indeed he was right. The Mechanics EP launched a boatload of buzz and caught the ear of one Sage Francis. JUAN DEUCE & FALSIDE won another roomful of fans while opening for Mos Def at Fête on New Year's Eve (which also featured an opening set from the Reziztanze crew — Classical High, stand up!). It's safe to say that these two charismatic screwballs are the future of RI hip-hop, so get onboard ASAP. First up for 2013 is the next installment of Fal's "seasonal beat tapes" titled Wintermentals (at while the duo wraps up their official full-length debut. Falside dropped a line last week:

"We've been crafting our collaborative album, effectively surviving on a strict coffee diet, and working tirelessly on attaining Alan Alda's home address. We've planned a healthy show schedule for 2013 and kept our apartments as clean as possible."

We'll wrap up with a major, all-encompassing update direct from SAGE FRANCIS, ringleader of the Strange Famous Records family.

"What I'm most excited about at the moment is the new PROLYPHIC album with (UK producer) Buddy Peace. The album is called Working Man and it basically hits upon every plight of working-class America. Prolyphic is a Cranston boy who has earned a strong underground following over the years. Working Man drops in March.

"B. DOLAN is working with a band now and developing an album that sounds incredible from everything he's shown me so far. He always has a way of making me think, 'D'oh! Wish I did that!'

"As for a new Sage Francis album, this is the longest I've gone without an official release. All I need to do is tie up some loose ends and then I can start unleashing the recordings I've been hoarding over the past few years. I'm really looking forward to that. Expect at least one mixtape followed by an official album later in the year.

"And of course we are looking forward to whatever Juan Deuce & Falside present to us as their first official album. I can't imagine why SFR wouldn't take on such a strong pairing, but I did pay for their meals at a Woonsocket diner, so it's kind of official.

"There are a few other SFR artists who might pop up out of nowhere with an album, so (SFR team manager) Storm Davis and I have to brace ourselves for surprises like that. Whatever happens, 2013 is set to test our limits. Bring it on."

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  Topics: Music Features , Sage Francis, Sage Francis, Jon Hope,  More more >
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