Paul "Sage" Francis (born November, 1976 in Miami, Florida) is a hip-hop artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. Sage Francis' style blends a varying tone and delivery with subject matter that focuses on intricate sequences of widely varying imagery, metaphors, the occasional pun, absurdism, and pop culture references, while including touchstones of traditional hip hop such as storytelling and self-promotion.Source
Sage Francis holds two degrees, an AA in communications from Massachusetts' Dean College, and a BA in journalism from the University of Rhode Island.
During the mid-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, a group that 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, Aesop Rock, and the anticon. collective. He is also loosely affiliated with the vague underground hip-hop super-group The Orphanage.
As a battle rapper, Francis won the 2000 Scribble Jam, a competition considered to be the most sought after prize in the freestyle battling scene. He then came back the next year to finish as a semifinalist. Francis set up his own record label Strange Famous Records through which he has put out the majority of his records, mostly collections of live songs, radio freestyles and spoken word tracks.
After building up a reputation and cult following, thanks largely to his self compiled and released albums and the internet, he released the track that would add "outspoken hip-hop artist" to his list of reputations, and through internet downloading, expose him to many more people. On October 11, exactly one month after the September 11, 2001 attacks, he wrote and recorded that track - "Makeshift Patriot". The track was released that day as an MP3 and later in several formats. In 2003, the track was featured on Punk-O-Rama Vol. 8. This exposed Francis' music to a whole new market, and he has said that many fans tell him that this was their first exposure to hip-hop music.
Francis released his first proper solo album, Personal Journals, on anticon. Records in 2002. Francis subsequently became one of the first hip-hop artists to sign with Punk label Epitaph Records, agreeing to a three-album deal. His first album for Epitaph, A Healthy Distrust, was released in early 2005.
In 2004, Francis appeared on-stage at Rock the Bells in San Bernardino, CA. This concert is notable for having been the final (and first in several years) performance of the entire 9-member Wu-Tang Clan.
In 2005, Francis, along with poet Bernard Dolan started up a non-profit organization Knowmore, Inc. for the purpose of running Knowmore.Org, a website with the goal of being a database of information that critically examines every aspect of corporations and political issues.
From the 23rd to the 29th of October, 2006, an art exhibit, 'If a girl writes off the world' (taken from a line the Non-Prophets track 'The Cure') based on Francis' lyrics was held in Brick Lane, London. The exhibit contained artwork in a range of media by artist Sarah Coleman. Francis performed a 40 minute acapella set at the private viewing.
Francis is currently working on the soundtrack of director Gavin O'Connor's film Pride and Glory. Mark Isham is composing the music to which Francis is writing lyrics, speaking the conscience of the main character, played by Edward Norton.
Whilst eschewing the label of being straight edge, Francis abstains from drinking alcohol and taking drugs. In response to his refusal to identify as straight edge, Francis stated that one should not "define yourself by what you don't do" in an interview by Headcase Live. Along with his abstinence from intoxicants, he also often references his vegetarianism in his lyrics and has appeared in promotional material for PETA. In 2006, he was featured in PETA's "sexiest vegetarian" competition. Francis used his website to encourage people to vote for him in the male category, and Natalie Portman, (with whom he has a slight obsession, mentioning her in lyrics, and even going as far as selling a t-shirt, parodying André the Giant Has a Posse, with the words "Natalie Portman has a stalker" written next to a picture of his face) in the female category.
In lyrics and on merchandise, Francis often falsely cites his birthdate as being in 1968. However, in the song Black Sweatshirt, he states he was "born in the 70s of the 20th Century".
Although Francis has collaborated with many other hip-hop MCs, including Slug, Brother Ali, Sixtoo, Saul Williams and Apathy among others, Francis has stated that he is not a big fan of hip-hop collaborations in general. He has a rule of not having guest MCs on any of his official album releases, and all of his hip-hop collaborations appear either in his Sick Of series, on singles, or on other artists' releases.