Yesterday, Saul Williams appeared at a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair. I have known of the great Saul Williams for some time. I have heard several tracks of his and even saw him perform live a while back on Def Poetry Jam, but I was not prepared for the genius that is Saul Williams.
Saul Williams is a poet/spoken word performer/underground hip hop star. But, beyond that, he is incredibly smart and has brilliant musings on the state of hip hop today. He appeared on a panel entitled "Beats, Raps and Rants: Hip Hop in Prose, Poetry and Spoken Word" with other artists/poets Jair and Mike Sonsken (aka Mike the Poet). The panel was moderated by writer/critic Donnell Alexander.
Their conversations primarily focused on the hip hop as an artform. Not surprisingly, Saul Williams said the most intelligent and thoughtful comments. My favorite thought had to with his theory on sampling. He said (and I am paraphrasing) that when an artist chooses to sample a piece of music for his or her own piece, he is making a statement about that song. For example, if you look at "Ring My Bell" as a philosophy, 30 years later, you might not agree with the philosophy in its entirety, but you agree with one or two points. So, you take those points and bring them into your music by sampling them.
Sadly, Saul Williams is not performing in this area anytime soon, but I will be sure to let you know when he does.
Until then, enjoy these tracks:
MP3: Saul Williams - This Type Love (from Def Poetry Jam)
Read the lyrics for This Type Love here
MP3: Saul Willaims - Black Stacey
Also, all four of them took the time to praise Ras Kass for being the best rapper no one has ever heard of. I had never heard of him and have listened to a few tracks last night. More to come on him.