In an age where boundless leaps are being made in communication, Saul Williams is evolutionary proof that age-old concepts can be fused with new precepts and expressed with mind opening precision.
Never before has the power of the word and our ability to dictate our reality been expressed so clearly and creatively at once. Williams’ poetry represents an evolution of thought, artistry and spiritual consciousness delivered with the lyrical fervor of hip-hop and the grace and linguistic mastery of Shakespeare. Williams channels the voice of the postmodern age, yet allows a wide ranging stream of consciousness to distort the melody like some sort of lyrical Hendrix.
Williams’ debut performance and featured poetry in the film Slam, which he co-wrote and starred in, brought audiences to their feet across the world. Winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998, the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, along with the Audience Award for Best Picture and the World Distributors Award for Best Picture, Slam uniquely exposed the universal truths that one must grasp in order to escape imprisoned mind-states. Along with his co-star, Sonia Sohn, Williams was personally awarded the Perry Ellis Breakthrough Award by New York's Independent Film Project (IFP) and was also nominated for a Spirit Award for best performance. Marc Levin's idea to direct this poetic masterpiece came about after seeing Williams recite his poetry in the Grand Slam Championship at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe, where he became the Grand Slam Champion for 1996.
Williams’ love of language, which is rooted in his love of hip-hop, has come full circle as he now takes his lyricism back to its musical roots. Songwriting has become Williams’ latest endeavor. He envisions a hip-hop that is as musically evolved as his lyricism. Collaborating with six band members, he is composing a sonic soundscape for his already rhythmic and expansive poetry. His music has been featured on a number of CDs, including: Lyricist Lounge, the Slam soundtrack, Black Whole Styles, Eargasms, Blackalicious’ Blazing Arrow, and Krust's Coded Language.
Williams’ work has been featured in The New York Times, Esquire, Time Magazine, Elle, Details, Detour, Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, Essence, Source, Paper, Rolling Stone, and countless other periodicals. Along with the written work listed below, Williams is also featured in a number of poetry anthologies: Listen Up, Catch The Fire, Slam, and In Defense of Mumia.
Williams has performed all around the U.S., as well as in Canada, France, Germany, England, Scotland, Sweden, Belgium, Turkey, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Brazil and Japan. He has been featured at the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Stockholm, Sweden. Saul performed on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam III in the spring of 2023 and is a recurring character on UPN’s hit show, ‘Girlfriends.’ His poetry has been added to the curriculum at a number of universities and high schools across the country, where he has also been asked to recite his work, lecture, and/or teach workshops, including: New York University, American University, Morehouse College, Oberlin, The New School, George Washington University, Cornell University and Harvard.
Saul's written and recorded work includes:
The Seventh Octave
His first book, published by Moore Black Press.
Published by MTV/ Pocketbooks. Now in its third printing.
, said the shotgun to the head
Published by MTV/Pocketbooks. Released in September 2023.
The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop
Saul's latest work, published by MTV. Released in January 2023.
Amethyst Rock Star
An original hip-hop album. Saul exorcises urban music of its self-destructive excess, channeling its rowdy energy into a ritualized raising of consciousness.
Co-produced by Williams and Rick Rubin.
Self-titled album from September 2023.