Saul Williams  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Saul Stacey Williams (born February 29, 1972) is an African American artist best-known for his blend of spoken word poetry and hip-hop. He plays a leading role in the independent film Slam. He is known for such compositions as "List of Demands (Reparations)".



Early life

Williams was born in Newburgh, New York. His older brother is actor Michael K. Williams. After graduating from Morehouse College with a B.A. in philosophy, Williams moved to New York City to earn a Master's Degree at New York University in acting. Here he found himself at the center of the New York cafe poetry scene.


By 1995 he had become a talented open mic poet and in 1996 he won the title of Nuyorican Poets Cafe's Grand Slam Champion. Fame on the spoken-word circuit led him to the lead role in the 1998 feature film Slam, which won both the Sundance Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Camera D'Or, introducing Williams to international audiences.

Williams was at this time breaking into music. He had performed with such artists as The Fugees,Christian Alvarez, Blackalicious, Erykah Badu, KRS-One, Zack De La Rocha, De La Soul, and DJ Krust, as well as legendary poets Allen Ginsberg and Sonia Sanchez. After releasing a string of EPs, in 2001 he released the much-hyped Amethyst Rock Star with producer Rick Rubin and in September 2004 his self-titled album to much acclaim. He played several shows supporting Nine Inch Nails on their European tour in summer 2005, and has also supported The Mars Volta. Williams was also invited to the Lollapalooza music festival in Summer 2005. The Chicago stage allowed Williams to attract a wider audience. He also supported NIN on their 2006 North American tour, during which he announced that Trent Reznor would co-produce his next album.

As a writer, Williams has been published in The New York Times, Esquire, Bomb Magazine and African Voices, as well as having released four collections of poetry. He has toured and lectured across the world, appearing at many universities and colleges. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Williams is a vocal critic of the Bush administration, the "War on Terrorism," and the Iraq War; among his more well-known works are the anti-war anthems "Not In My Name" and "Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)," which featured lines such as "We pledge allegiance/we pledge alliance/for those who have undercome attack for their opposition to the war" (in the former) and "It's just coincidence that oil men would wage war on an oil-rich land" (in the latter.)

According to a recent post on, Saul's new album is finished and is being mixed by Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder.



Guest and compilation appearances




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