Sunday, August 10, 2008

2nd Chances

It's Sunday, 6pm.

The sun is a bleached white light, slanting sideways through the blinds and I am listening to Saul Williams, "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!", while going through some old computer files.

For those not familiar with Saul Williams, he is an NY Slam Poet Champ, and his album is available online. I bought it last year, unheard, based on a glowing review -but- after listening once or twice shelved it for what I deemed to be overuse of the "N" word.

Then, more recently, I ended up listening again via Ipod while ascending the mountain and it's kinda grown on me, since.

The arrangements are interesting and though they can be a bit heavy handed with Trent Reznor-isms (who produced the album) there is a vibrancy and sometimes angry energy that pushes things along.

And the lyrics?

Lenny Bruce's "Nigger, Wop, Kike, Spic" routine comes to mind, (one song, especially) but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Let's just say Saul Williams is a dude who likes to play with perceptions and words are his little mirrors of misdirection. Or maybe he just like's effing with people's heads, but it's not always easy to tell where the bottom line is.

The album cover, for instance, is a cross between Tupac and Disney. We see a black man's bare chest, adorned with jewelry, but he's this holding cute little kitten - and it's wearing an eye-patch - a cute little gangsta' kitty. Hunh?

And then there's the title song, "Niggy Tardust," an obvious David Bowie reference, but with no other connection, musical or otherwise, that I can identify. And I've looked, believe me. Anyway...

During the title song, just before the refrain, white people are advised, not to call Niggy, "Niggy," but Curtis.

Followed by the refrain:

When I say "Niggy"
You say nothin'...

(No response)
(No reponse)

When I say Niggy,
You say nothin':

(No response)
NOTHING! - Shutup.

Which could sound a little in-your-face but also comes off as kind of humorous.

But why take my word for it? Listen for yourself:

Think you got it all the first time? Maybe. But you should note the line:

"Threshold king of everything, a comical absurdist"

Which puts an interesting spin on things.

And the bottom line?

It's all you, man.

Oh yeah, and the above is a self-portrait I came across yesterday while going through some stuff. This was supposed to be about that, but I got a little side tracked.


  1. love the self portrait. has a big Aeon Flux quality to it.

  2. love the portrait. has an Aeon Flux quality to it.

  3. Yo "t" - 'Sup?

    Thank you for the kudos, and, er, uh...

    What's "Aeon Flux"?

    Can ya hep a brotha out?

  4. This entry ties in nicely with the current Stuff White People Like entry . . .