Video footage of the very 1st Xaul Zan battle (1999)

“You love to hear the story, again and again, of how it all got started way back when…”

Ten years ago I was living in Brooklyn, NY on a velcro sneaker budget. A friend named Mig was kind enough to let me sleep on his floor at night as my days were spent  looking for ways to either make money or get my name out there. One way I tried making those things happen was by entering emcee battles. The most popular semi-regular battle was an event called Braggin’ Rites which I THOUGHT took place at a club called The Wetlands, but the banner behind the stage clearly says S.O.B’s. If I remember correctly, and as you’ll see in the video below, the night was usually hosted by Yeshua da Poed and their format entailed 4 emcees battling each other at once during the earlier rounds. You’ll also see in the video that my Xaul Zan alter-ego wasn’t fully developed just yet, but the concept was definitely being birthed on this night.

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This battle footage isn’t anything I’d consider as part of a highlight reel, and it’s difficult to make out much of what is actually being said, but I’m happy to share this video time capsule with people. It’s been a crazy decade. I’m lookin’ forward to the next.

Thanks for sticking it out with the kid.
-Sage Francis


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Hero says

It's been great listening to your music branch out, grow, and take on it's various forms.

p.s. Is there a chance that we will see round two of Super Sage vs. the Fridge?

trau says

you were definltey tight but you've come so far in finding a voice.

Reggie says
  1. That battle is certainly held at S.O.B.'s, not Wetlands. 2. Second guy rapping looks like one of the dudes that used to sell CDs outside of Fat Beats, 3. Care to explain why a Xaul Zan record will not be coming out?
POSJustin says

It's good to have grown with you...

cv says

i remember this being at Wetlands too hmm or was that another time, when that fat rapper Self destroyed you in the finals ha

sage says

SELF!!! I remember that dude. He was from New Jersey. He called me a Sage wannabe in the battle because he didn't believe I was really Sage Francis. That was a very memorable battle for many reasons.

José Magalhães says

Just dropping some love from Portugal! Nice video btw

aimee says

great video! love listening to your variety of styles <3
by the way i completely agree with Hero on this ... i will keepa nasty fridge in my house for months if that means i get to see a round 2 :]

hueyjeraldo says

WHEN IS The NEW ALbuM droPPPPPPPINg?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

non-profits says

How much of a rap battle is pre-written? Do you come up with good rhymes when you write songs, and you recall them when you battle? Also...Come to chicago please! We love you here.

medl4 says

damn, i remember existing in 99. seems like not that long ago. fresh as always, that 2nd rapper was dope too, what ever happened to him?

Timtown says

Thanks for posting this. Real shit!

JGreen says

Man if only i could have been around n the days of old, i'lda had a shot 2 get burned by you, slug, mac lethal n brother ali , i'ld just watch the videos n b content sayn i was there, but seriously dude i'm infatiuated with everydamn cd u'lve put out, n im spreadin the word down south cuz people need to know what real hip hop is not this lil wayne techno ass jive shit. Much Respect n please keep it movin ur n inspiration

Nathenb says

Sage Kills!!!!! yo man you are so sick. You should come to Buffalo my man.

TriZz says

I thought it said Slobs.

Bonafide Rojas says

ahhh Bragging Rights, shit SOB's i used to roll to The Nuyorican, lol look at Yeshua, he looks mad young, th guys that hang in front of fat beats did not hang there in 99, more like 02, and that DP One on the one's and two's, good footage. keep it safe.