"The only reason why my music is experimental is because hip-hop isn't."
Saul Williams is an incredibly talented poet, musician, and spoken word artist. His rendition of Not In Our Name's Pledge of Resistance is nothing short of inspirational, and- but begin at the beginning...
Saul Stacy Williams was born in 1972 in Newburgh, New York. His mother was a teacher and his father a preacher (see, he was rhyming at birth!) (sorry), and while Saul eventually ended up eschewing patriarchal religions for the violence that they provoke, this was undoubtedly a formative introduction to the power of the spoken word. He first began writing poetry in fourth grade, inspired by T La Rock's song "It's Yours".
Saul received a Bachelor's degree in philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and subsequently moved to New York City to pursue his Master's in acting at NYU. It was in New York, and at the Nuyorican Cafe in particular that Saul rapidly began to make a name for himself as a slam poet. In 1996 he won the Nuyorican's Grand Slam Championship, which led to his writing for and starring in the independent film "Slam" in 1998. "Slam" won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Picture and the World Distributers Award for Best Picture, and Saul himself won the Independent Film Project's Perry Ellis Breakthrough Award for his performance as Ray Joshua, a young rapper who struggles with a life of poverty, projects, and prison (Saul wrote all the poetry he performed in "Slam" himself).
Saul has performed his work all over the world, and collaborated with artists as prominent and varied as Allen Ginsberg, Sonia Sanchez, The Fugees, Company Flow, De La Soul, KRS-1, DJ Krust, and Esthero*. His publications include:
His next book of poetry, , said the shotgun to the head
came out in September 2003.
Saul has a daughter named Saturn with Marcia Jones, his partner since 1995 (Marcia is an illustrator, and she created the artwork for Amethyst Rockstar).
Saul infuses his poetry and lyricism with his fine-tuned political and spiritual consciousness. Saul Williams is hip-hop, spoken word, and slam poetry taken to the next level. His stuff is truly extraordinary. Check it out.
Thanks to annonline.com, imdb.com, americanrecordings.com and slamnation.com for biographical information. If there's anything else you think should be included, /msg me, I've only just started learning about the guy, but I thought he deserved his own node.
*Thanks to avalyn for that one.