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Paul "Sage Francis" Landry (born ca. 1977 in Miami, Florida) is a vegetarian straight edge hip-hop artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. Noted for his intense flow and sharp wit, Francis has won acclaim both as a freestyle battler and as an unapologetically intellectual lyricist. Francis uses a broad emotional palette to address a wide range of personal, cultural, and political issues. His unconventional style and persona have given him crossover appeal, but at the same time alienated some hip-hop listeners.
Prior to embarking on a full-time career as an MC, Francis displayed his skills in slam poetry. During the late 1990s, he recorded his first demo tape (1996), fronted the now defunct Providence hip-hop band Art Official Intelligence, and hosted a weekly slot on independent radio station WRIU (the "True School Session"). He also formed the Non-Prophets with producer friend Joe Beats, and the duo released a 12” (Drop Bass/Bounce/I Keep Calling, Emerge Records, 1999), following up in 2003 with their first full-length offering, Hope. Francis is a contemporary of underground hip-hop artists such as Slug, Eyedea, Sole and the anticon. collective. He is also loosely affiliated with the vague underground hip-hop supergroup The Orphanage.
As a solo performer, Francis won the MC battle at the 2000 Scribble Jam, and in 2001 he came close to repeating as champion (semi-finalist) while performing as his "metal" alter ego, "Xaul Zan." Francis released his first proper solo album, Personal Journals, on anticon. in 2002. He toured with legendary futurock band Gruvis Malt on the Live Band Dead Poet Tour to support it. Francis subsequently became the first hip-hop artist to sign with Punk label Epitaph, agreeing to a three-album deal. His first album for Epitaph, A Healthy Distrust, was released in early 2005 and will follow up with 'The Human Death Dance' in 2007 (which has already leaked online).
One of Francis's best-known tracks is "Makeshift Patriot," a commentary on the American media recorded one month after the September 11, 2001 attacks which he released on the internet as an MP3 as well as a limited edition 7" single.
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