Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!
After three long years, Williams' new album released November 1st, 2007 - legally and online. Though the purchasing mechanism has been the source of much attention (go pay $5 for the FLAC version) I want to focus more on the album.
Most people know I love me some Saul, but this took me back. At first I was truly repulsed. This wasn't like "Our Father," "Wine," or "Notice of Eviction." This was something... else. Most of my friends say it was Trent's influence, and while I can see that, I would say it is more of a Dead Emcee Scrolls influence. I'm talking thinking. Saul has always been a thinker and that's why I love him, but in this album he takes it to the next level.
It may strike you at first (and strike is the best word for this wall-of-sound album) as offensive and lacking the depth and refreshing optimism of his earlier work, but trust me, this is just as pointed as his self-titled. This is more so. This album, like the book, is a mocking assault of mainstream rap. I take as my evidence the song "Break." A sampling of lines: "Death creeps through the streets over programmed beats... Placin' tags on feet. A Nike Air Force fleet. Custom made: unique..." And the song is preceded by 30 seconds of "spit it out," lambasting the usual lengthy period of yeah's preceding rap songs. If you are new to hip-hop and don't understand the difference between rap and hip-hop, listen to something by the G-Unit to get an idea of rap, then check out anything by Anticon to get an idea of hip-hop. Saul's album is firmly in the hip-hop camp and clearly anti-rap. That's a good thing. I like hip-hop. I hate rap.
Once you get through the assault of the first couple of listens, the true genius of this album slowly unfolds. Saul's reach outside of the world of hip-hop for inspiration and help keeps with his experimental nature, and works best here than on any of his other albums. "Scared Money," "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," "Skin of a Drum," - these are songs you will not hear anywhere else, and every single song on here rocks. This is an oddity for me. Usually there are a few songs on an album that stand out so much they begin to define it. Not so here. This album is an album of equals. An album without any "filler," as Rebecca puts it.
This album is exactly in-step with Saul's experimenting nature and it takes it the next step. I love it, but then, who really expected me not to? And no, I don't like it simply because I think he is a gorgeous human being.