While jewel-drenched and bullet-scarred rappers keep flooding the airwaves, there is a hip-hop alternative to all the glitter and Glocks. Welcome to the world of Sage Francis and his intelligent and e

While jewel-drenched and bullet-scarred rappers keep flooding the airwaves, there is a hip-hop alternative to all the glitter and Glocks. Welcome to the world of Sage Francis and his intelligent and emotive "A Healthy Distrust." A follow-up to his "Personal Journals" disc, this album (his Epitaph debut) packs a one-two aural punch of heady lyrics and intricately produced backdrops. On "Product Placement," Francis ties one non sequitur into another as he spins a downtempo tale of metaphorical drug use. Meanwhile, the Danger Mouse-produced "Gunz Yo" takes aim at the role that firearms play in American society. Other highlights include "Lie Detector Test," "Sun Vs. Moon" and the hilarious-but-so-real "Voicemail Bomb Threat." As gruff as many of his contemporaries, Francis offers you the chance to nod . . . and think.—RH

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