Sporting a beard and flannel shirt, Sage made a splash on the template-free independent scene, freestyling as few can and occasionally gravitating to spoken word. In the cult cut "Mullet," the white rapper relates the difficulties of growing up under rap's spell in his "rock-and-roll-assed town." Recalling the metalheads who busted his young chops, Francis identifies his unique role in his high school: "I was no devil worshiper/ higher-level interpreter." It's a zinger, though he more typically rhymes about introspection and frustration. Released on the alt-hip-hop stronghold Anticon Records, his Personal Journals LP makes heads nod in time and thought, as also demonstrated by the single "Makeshift Patriot": The post-September 11 commentary concludes with the warning, "Don't waive your rights with your flags." Or your hands.