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Paul “Sage” Francis (born November 18, 1976 in Miami, Florida) is a hip-hop artist based inProvidence, Rhode Island.
Noted for his intense flow and sharp wit, Francis has won acclaim both as a freestyle battler and as an unapologetic, 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 asSLuG, Eyedea, Sole and the anticon. collective. He is also loosely affiliated with the vague underground hip-hop super-group 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.
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