Black Stacey Ascends Again

On his MySpace page, poet-actor-MC Saul Williams dropped some interesting details today about next week’s release, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! (The title is, duh, a play on David Bowie’s 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which I always found overrated, though I love Bowie.) Produced by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, Saul follows last month’s download-only Radiohead model by offering the record at for five bucks or for free—the choice is yours.

Saul and I met around 1990, we went to Morehouse together. Saul was always handing out fliers for things I never supported; he used to dance for an eclectic rap outfit called K.I.N. (fronted by the first Chris X I ever met, now known as NiggyTardust collaborator CX Kidtronik). The first performance I almost went to was a Pearl Cleage play running near Little Five Points in Atlanta, with Saul in a starring role. When he went to NYU for acting, I was in law school at Fordham, and we caught some shows in-between classes: Common and the Beatnuts at the Limelight, Gil Scott-Heron at SOBs. I finally saw Saul do his thing at the Brooklyn Moon during I guess what’s now the spoken-word renaissance of the 90s, around the time he and painter Marcia Jones had baby girl Saturn. (Marcia and I met in the mythic year of 1988, Clark College dime-piece that she was.)

I realize folks don’t know Saul like they know Lil Wayne. It’s hard for me to get a handle on how he’s perceived generally because we know each other; I hope he doesn’t fall into the kind of “alternative hiphop” chasm for people that, like, MC 900 Ft. Jesus or Basehead used to back in the days. In a fairer world, Saul Williams could shift the hiphop paradigm as forcefully as Bob Dylan did for the counterculture of the 60s. Well, I preordered my NiggyTardust for the five bucks. Saul’s a certified furthermucker.