SAUL WILLIAMS / “Black Stacey”

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2005 at 12:02 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “SAUL WILLIAMS / “Black Stacey””

Stephanie Renee Says:
August 29th, 2005 at 8:20 am

Saul Williams is one of the only lyricists who repeatedly makes me feel like my head will explode…in the best way. I love this piece, but I might choose “The Tao of Now” from the first album or “Twice The First Time” from the Eargasms project as the best merging of his verbal skills with a high production value. No surprise that his dad is a preacher. You can hear it in almost every vocal delivery that many people attribute to hip-hop. But then again, preachers are the original MCs, aren’t they? 🙂

Paul Says:
August 29th, 2005 at 11:24 am

First of all – great site. i love your choice of songs, and the commentary is on point.

But I think you are underselling your man Saul. I met Saul briefly at a poetry reading in college. Prior to that I knew of him from his book The Seventh Octave, and his track on the Eargasms album.

In addition to delivering a fantastic spoken word performance, Saul riffed about what music he was into and Egyptian religion. He shared a lot of my opinions on good hip hop, and as someone studying Egyptian religion at the time, I thought the coincidence was somewhat eery.

After the encounter, I went back and watched SLAM and read some of his other stuff. When his first album dropped, I immediately scooped it up.
The album seemed mostly like spoken word set to music. As always, Saul’s words impressed me. The production seemed heavy to me, but I was mostly into it for the words and Saul didn’t disappoint (a purple dinosaur that speaks of love/a black man that speaks of blood/ which one is keepin it real son)

But his most recent album was actually one of my favorites of last year. The lyrics were even better, even more honest and poignant. The sound was still heavy for my tastes, but I saw it as more of a synthesis then the first album. The music had the anger, the humor, the passion that the words did – and having the pulsing sound of the music behind the words gave them a heart-beat like importance. And Saul’s blend of speaking, rhyming and singing (as you mentioned) were uniquely his.

But for me, listening to Saul is still about the lyrical content. And he has some amazing things to say on the album, things that to me are too important to write off just because they aren’t set to a more traditional hip hop beat. “I gave hip hop to white boys when nobody was looking/ found it locked in the basement when they gentrified brooklyn” One of the dopest hip hop lines of the past few years, and even more illuminating when it is delivered at a concert full of bouncing white heads like the one I saw. I think this is what makes Saul interesting – he makes a song like Black stacy that can actually universally make anyone feel the social and class issues associated with skin color. While it might be more powerful for audiences of color, the honesty is so stirring that it makes the song speak to anyone – and make them refelct on their own similar insecurities even if they aren’t racial in origin. Kanye doesn’t do that at his best – in fact few MCs have ever had that type of charisma in my eyes (Tupac being one of the only others that comes to mind)

But what makes Saul the true warrior prophet in my eyes, is what happened one night when I was at a show of his. His guitar shorted out on him, almost electrocuting him. So what does he do? He has the band stop playing, slings his guitar back and spits one of his best poems in my eyes – Sha Clack Clack. But the best part is that the audience is just as enthralled to hear the man talk as they are to hear them sing/rhyme/perform.

No matter how tight his beats are there is not another MC out there who I want to hear lecture about anything other than music. But Saul trancends the MC classification. And I think that makes his music more powerful, not less.

Just some thoughts.

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