The first new song from Volcanic Sunlight, due May 2. The video was shot in Paris, where Williams has been living since 2009.
I had a bad attitude about Lollapalooza this year. I was not looking forward to it at all. I’ve covered Lollapalooza for Glorious Noise each year since the festival was resurrected in Chicago in 2005. Between Lolla and Forkfest, I was thinking I might just be festivaled out.
My wife’s advice as I left on Friday: “Don’t be old—be fun.”
Which sounds a lot harder than it actually turned out to be. Once I let go of some of my uptightness and decided to just roll with it, I ended up having a great weekend. Free your mind, and your ass will follow, right? Surprisingly, I think the lack of bands that I needed to see helped me relax and just enjoy myself.
Not to say that there weren’t a ton of great bands playing this year. There were, but I’ve seen most of them recently. At Lollapalooza two years ago. Or at Pitchfork last year. Or both.
MP3: Saul Williams – “World On Wheels” from The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, out now on iTunes and in stores July 8. Produced by Trent Reznor. The official release features 5 exclusive tracks including “List of Demands (Reparations).”
Previously: Saul Williams.
Chicago Tribune/Sound Opinions’ Greg Kot catches up with Saul Williams, and talks about the Nike ad, being pigeon-holed by Rick Rubin, and the inspiration of his new album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust:
“Where David Bowie used that album to make the media focus on identity regarding gender and sex, I was dealing with racial identity,” he says. “Race is a social construct. We willingly stand under the banners of black and white as if that were real, and allow society to polarize us, and polarize our music as a filter that we listen to it through. It’s like Run DMC standing in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with no guitars and singing, ‘I’m the king of rock, there is none higher.’ It’s about that hip hop audacity, that confidence to say, ‘What of it? Yeah, that’s right, make something of it.'”
I, on the other hand, am the King of Boggle. There is none higher. I got eleven points off the word quagmire.
GLONO alumnus Tom Mantzouranis dissects the new Nike ad for AOL Sports Blog, FanHouse. Why Did Nike Use Saul Williams’ “List of Demands” in Their New Campaign?
Nike is an edgy company, and their marketing campaigns have been anything but safe lately, but it strikes me as odd that they allowed a song with violent overtones on a controversial subject to represent their company. Williams sings “call the police, I’m strapped to the teeth,” “protect your neck, ’cause I’m breaking out of my noose,” and “I ball my first and you’re gonna know where I stand,” among other lyrics.
You can download the song (MP3: Saul Williams – “List of Demands”), and if you really like it, buy the album: Saul Williams. Williams’ latest album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust, was produced by Trent Reznor and released for free on the internet.
Watch the spot after the jump…
I had people at Sony take me into the office and tell me, ‘But that’s not hip-hop. Your album isn’t hip-hop.’ To me that’s what this is really about. By releasing it online and not dealing with the labels, it gave me an opportunity for once as an artist that I didn’t have to compromise in the face of people who have limited ideas and conceptions about what it is to be black and make music.
And to me that’s the role of technology. Technology is here to free us from the grip of history. That’s why I’m thankful to the Internet. That’s why I’m thankful to this form of (music) release. Because in many ways it set me free.
I’ve been in meetings with reps at labels and they walk me to their urban department. Literally I’m like, ‘But I’m not making something limited to urban music,’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah, but you’re black.’
You can also check out the Trent Reznor interview from the same publication.
We previously posted about how Saul Williams and Trent Reznor were collaborating on a project that was one-upping Radiohead. As a fan of Saul Williams, I had been excited about this idea, happily paid $5, and downloaded the 320kbps MP3 version of the album.
A couple months having passed, Reznor now offers up some Saul Williams follow-up and facts:
As of 1/2/08,
154,449 people chose to download Saul’s new record.
28,322 of those people chose to pay $5 for it, meaning:
18.3% chose to pay. […]
If 33,897 people went out and bought Saul’s last record 3 years ago (when more people bought CDs) and over 150K – five times as many – sought out this new record, that’s great – right?
I have to assume the people knowing about this project must either be primarily Saul or NIN fans, as there was very little media coverage outside our direct influence. If that assumption is correct – that most of the people that chose to download Saul’s record came from his or my own fan-base – is it good news that less than one in five feel it was worth $5? I’m not sure what I was expecting but that percentage – primarily from fans – seems disheartening.
Little media coverage? Oh really?
Trent Reznor and Saul Williams Discuss Their New Collaboration, Mourn OiNK in New York Magazine:
Trent: I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted. If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don’t feel cool when I go there. I’m tired of seeing John Mayer’s face pop up. I feel like I’m being hustled when I visit there, and I don’t think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc. Amazon has potential, but none of them get around the issue of pre-release leaks. And that’s what’s such a difficult puzzle at the moment. If your favorite band in the world has a leaked record out, do you listen to it or do you not listen to it? People on those boards, they’re grateful for the person that uploaded it — they’re the hero. They’re not stealing it because they’re going to make money off of it; they’re stealing it because they love the band. I’m not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.
Previously: Saul Williams One-Ups Radiohead.
Are you familar with Saul Williams? He’s a hip-hop poet/MC who released an amazing single a couple years ago called “List of Demands” (mp3). The album, Saul Williams, wasn’t 100% solid, but it contained at least one more great track, “Black Stacey.” His set at Lollapalooza 2005 was one of the highlights of my year. But we haven’t heard too much from him since then (other than an open letter to Oprah).
But now, with some production and promotion help from Trent Reznor, Williams will be releasing a new album himself. Directly to fans via the internet: The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! And fans get to choose whether they want to pay $5 or no bucks. Kinda like Radiohead. But better.
Find out how it’s better after the jump…
Saul Williams: An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey.
“Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it. Our love affair with gangsterism and the denigration of women is not rooted in Hip Hop; rather it is rooted in the very core of our personal faith and religions. The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation. 50 Cent and George Bush have the same birthday (July 6th). For a Hip Hop artist to say I do what I wanna do/Don’t care if I get caught/The DA could play this mothafukin tape in court/I’ll kill you/ I ain’t playin’ epitomizes the confidence and braggadocio we expect an admire from a rapper who claims to represent the lowest denominator. When a world leader with the spirit of a cowboy (the true original gangster of the West: raping, stealing land, and pillaging, as we clapped and cheered.) takes the position of doing what he wants to do, regardless of whether the UN or American public would take him to court, then we have witnessed true gangsterism and violent negligence. Yet, there is nothing more negligent than attempting to address a problem one finds on a branch by censoring the leaves.”
Read the whole thing. Williams is a true poet.