a Epitaph Records: Sage Francis
Sage Francis

Sage Francis 

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Sage Francis

Darkness and light, anger and serenity, tragedy and comedy - these extremes are contained in Sage Francis, and they provide the foundation for Human the Death Dance, his best album to date. From the moment its curtains open to their drawing closed, Sage's fourth solo album (and his second for Epitaph) evokes the arc of its maker's lifespan - literally spanning the decades from his first recordings as an eight year-old rapper (captured on opener "Growing Pains") to the stark contemplation of his darkest days (on the subtly affecting closer, "Going Back to Rehab"). Between those two poles, Sage proves he's not just a rapper, nor just a spoken-word artist - he's the best lyricist of his generation.

Providence, Rhode Island's Sage Francis first captured the underground consciousness with a furious tape-only release, Homegrown Demo (1996), and then achieved renown as the country's best freestyle rapper by winning 1999's Superbowl Battle and 2000's Scribble Jam title. Sage won the second of those crowns wearing a Metallica T-shirt, hinting at his utter refusal to abide by hip-hop's orthodoxies, underground or otherwise. In fact, if there's an overriding theme to his career, it is this: where conformity ends, Sage Francis begins.

After retiring from the battle scene, Sage drove his distinctiveness home on his first official release, 2002's Personal Journals, a pioneering manifesto for the poetically introspective style that has come to dominate underground rap. Where that record showcased his facility with epic storytelling, 2003's Hope was its polar opposite, a joyous affirmation of Sage's love for the Golden Era (late '80s-early '90s) rhyme schemes and bite-size boasts and barbs. Released under the name Non-Prophets, Ho...

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Sage Francis
Human the Death Dance
Epitaph

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