SAUL WILLIAMS at the Mod Club (722 College), Monday (April 14), 7:30 pm doors. $21.50. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Saul Williams just got a song in a Nike commercial. And he’s put out one of the most abrasive and exciting albums of 08, The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of Niggy Tardust!.
So here’s a primer to help you get hip to him quick before he becomes the next Zach de la Rocha in a Che Guevara T-shirt.
The 36-year-old New Yorker started his career as a slam poet, becoming the Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion in 1996. He has recorded with the Fugees, Sonia Sanchez, KRS-One, De La Soul, Blackalicious, Allen Ginsberg and DJ Krust, which led to the diatribal gem Coded Language in 1998.
Williams’s major label debut, Amethyst Rock Star (2001, American), showed his dedication to fearless experimentation and was named album of the year by the Times of London – for good reason.
He portrayed a fiery street scholar in the flick Slam, which won the 1998 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance as well as the Cannes Caméra d’Or. He later stole scenes from Kevin Spacey in K-Pax and from Mos Def and Terrence Howard in Lackawanna Blues.
Williams has written several books of poetry, including The Seventh Octave (1998), She (1999), Said The Shotgun To The Head (2003), and The Dead Emcee Scrolls (2006).
After rocking Chicago’s Lollapalooza in 2005, he opened for Nine Inch Nails on their With Teeth tour and appeared on NIN’s subsequent album, Year Zero. This led to Williams and Trent Reznor collaborating on The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of Niggy Tardust!, a $5 download available at www.niggytardust.com.
The album is a slab of beautiful, bleak, bizarre ghetto gothic hip-hop rock-funk-punk junk science. Williams just released a thought-provoking video for his cover of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday (www.niggytardust.com/saulwilliams/spreadtheword), that finds Williams homeless in Los Angeles, crawling among rats and roaches.
One last thing: Williams calls his concerts “church.” You’ve been warned.
How well do you know Williams?
He may not be for everybody, but those who like him like him a lot. Play Multiple Choice Mysteries with Saul and expand your mind.
1. Saul Stacey Williams is a:
a) rapper b) singer c) musician d) poet e) preacher f) actor g) all of the above
2. The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of Niggy Tardust is inspired by a character created by which rock icon:
a) Dave Matthews b) David Navarro c) David Bowie d) Nelly Furtado e) Elvis Presley
3. True or False:
Saul Williams met his wife while playing a boyfriend on hit ladies-friendly UPN sitcom Girlfriends.
4. Saul Williams has not been published in:
a) The New York Times b) Esquire c) Bomb Magazine d) African Voices e) Penthouse Forums f) All of the above
5. Which quote is Williams’s?
a) The future’s mistress is history’s whore.
b) Temptation is a woman’s weapon and man’s excuse.
c) Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
d) Beauty brings happiness not to those who possess it, but to those able to love and adore it.
e) Yeah, I talk to myself... Sometimes that is the only way I am ensured an intelligent conversation!
1. g; 2. c; 3. true – Williams recently married actress Persia White; 4. e – Williams has not been published in Penthouse Forums… yet; 5. a.