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Paul "Sage" Francis (born ca. 1977 in Miami, Florida) is a hip-hop artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. He is a vegetarian and also chooses to abstain from drugs and drinking, though doesn't label himself as "straight-edge" because he believes "you should not define yourself by what you don't do".
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 and 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 a live band 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 Human the Death Dance in 2007.
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.
He is very well known for very complex metaphores, which he encorperates into songs such as "civil obediance" and "keep moving"
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