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Saul Williams

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!

November 12th, 2007 · Written by · No Comments

Niggy Tardust

Off the heels of Radiohead’s “pay what you want” digital distribution, Williams ups the ante, offering his latest album for free with the option to donate $5 to the artist. All this while being decidedly less established. After several tours, opening for Nine Inch Nails, Williams and NIN’s Trent Reznor hook up to collaborate on what can only be described as a monumental success in programming. Although Reznor seems to pull out all the leftover back-beats from this year’s Zero Year, it’s really Williams’ ferocious vocal attack that carries Niggy Tardust. Much more beat poet than MC, Williams uses his firebrand rhetoric to explore black identity, war, Jesus, and the state of hip-hop. Backed by electro-beats and Reznor’s fuzzy synths, Williams proves his versatility, nailing spot-on Reznor-like vocals that seamlessly transition into vocal overdubs and circle back into beat-rhyme choruses. Clocking in at just under an hour, Williams finds just enough time to cover U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” before opening back up his vocal attack. Never shying away from an examination of the “N” word, Williams’ no-holds-barred view on politics and religion is sure to leave listeners somewhat uncomfortable, especially since the album functions as one giant margin for the listener to fill in. Musically, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Stardust is a colossal achievement. Lyrically, it’s a strenuous test in concentration. Unconventional and lyrically opaque, it’s safe to say you’ll have a lot more than the price to wrap your head around.

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