Sage Francis may well be as antisocial and antagonistic as most battle-rhyming indie rappers aiming sites at unspecified MCs want us to think they are. His formal connections within the hip-hop underground seem few, barring a tangential relationship with the Anticon label, which released his solo debut proper in 2001. His rugged individualism (I mean seriously, he's from Rhode Island) adds a definite sense of realism to his ripping on the culture in which he functions. And his isolation frees him up to do and say lots of stuff—like in "Fresh," where he makes reference, ironic or not, to being aggressively straight-edge, a potentially asinine move in hip-hop when not backed by righteous religious reasoning. And said freedom allows Sage to vocalize with absolute clarity, sans pretension about anything but his own vision, even as he twists rhymes... More >>>