This article is part of my regular "Retrospectivism" feature. (Yes... that's right... the feature I specifically created a word for. What of it?)
This week, I look back at a few of my favourite points in Poet/Rapper Saul Williams's career.
If you read my Rapper/Actor Blog you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of artists who spread their talents thinly across many plains of expression. And While Saul Williams has released albums, written books and appeared in films/TV I consider him an altogether different beast.
Saul Williams is a poet at his very core. In his art, books, music, and even in his film and television roles (notably 1998's Slam) he lives and breathes the art of words. His care for his art and expression is what makes him so unique, and so underrated in his every endeavour. And while he has toured with acts as large and diverse as Lauryn Hill, Nas, Nine Inch Nails, poet Allen Ginsberg, DJ Krust etc etc, he remains an underground alternative to everyday Hip Hop.
And yes I will agree, this IS Alternative Hip hop. He drops intelligent, personal, emotional & political vocals with the ferocity of a 70's punk, the fearlessness of a folk musician, the bombast of a preacher and the imagination of a prog lover. He's the genuine article and there's no one like him.
I've selected a few of his tracks/performances so you can get a feel for his work... but with the kind of artist he is... you need to delve deeper to really get the full sustenance he has to offer your soul.
His poetry book "S/He" is an amazing account of the decline of a relationship (specifically with the mother of his first daughter "Saturn"), and his book "Said the Shotgun to the Head" is literally FULL of prose I wish I had come up with.
I've been very lucky and have actually seen Saul perform on 3 separate occasions... each time was like a revelation in intensity and truth. If and when he revisits the UK, do yourself a favour and grab a ticket. You'll probably see me there.