Saul Williams
Saul Williams in Dallas, 2007
Saul Williams in Dallas, 2007
Background information
Birth name Saul Stacey Williams
Born February 29 1972 (1972-02-29) (age 52)
Genre(s) Hip-Hop
Spoken word
Occupation(s) Rapper
Instrument(s) Vocals
Website Official Site

Saul Stacey Williams (born February 29, 1972) is an American writer, actor and musician known for his blend of poetry and hip-hop and for his leading role in the independent film Slam. He has had a significant place in the movement of DRM-free music and one of the first non-mainstream artists to offer their album free on the internet, bypassing the role of a record label.


Early life[]

Williams was born in Newburgh, New York. Williams is the youngest of 3 children; his two older siblings are sisters. 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 appeared on NIN's album Year Zero, and supported the group on their 2006 North American tour, during which he announced that Trent Reznor would co-produce his next album.[1] This collaboration resulted in 2007's The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!. The album is available only at niggytardust.com. Users can pay $5 to support the artist directly and be given the choice of downloading 192kps MP3 version, 320kbps MP3 version or lossless FLAC version. The material has been produced by Trent Reznor and mixed by Alan Moulder. It was Reznor who said that after his own recent dealings with record labels that they should release it directly.[2]

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).



  • Penny For A Thought/Purple Pigeons (2000)
  • Amethyst Rock Star (2001)
  • Not in My Name (2003)
  • Saul Williams (2004)
  • The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! (2007)

Guest and compilation appearances[]

  • "Twice the First Time" on Eargasms - Crucialpoetics Vol. 1 (1997)
  • "Elohim (1972)" on Black Whole Styles (1998)
  • "Ohm" on Lyricist Lounge, Volume One (1999)
  • "Coded Language" on Coded Language by DJ Krust (1999)
  • "Release" with Lyrics Born and Zack De La Rocha on Blazing Arrow by Blackalicious (2002)
  • "Time (Jungle) (Temple Of Soul Mix)" on Nublu Sessions, mixed by Wax Poetic (2003)
  • "Sent from Sandy Shores" (with Sacajawea) on Dreams of Water Themes by Adventure Time (2003)
  • "Wake up Show Freestyles by Sway and King Tech (2004)
  • "Three Fingers" on Enter the Chicken by Buckethead & Friends (2005)
  • "Sea Lion (Extended)" (with Will Oldham) on "Sea Lion" by Sage Francis (2005)
  • "Mr. Nichols" on Sound Mirrors by Coldcut (2006)
  • "April Showers, April Tears" on ¿What by Stuart Davis (2006)
  • ",said the shotgun to the head" on Thomas Kessler by Thomas Kessler (2006)
  • "Survivalism" and "Me, I'm Not" on Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails (2007)
  • "Gunshots By Computer" on Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D by Nine Inch Nails (2007)



  • Downtown 81 (voice) (1981/2000)
  • Underground Voices (1996)
  • Slam (1998)
  • SlamNation (1998)
  • I'll Make Me a World (1999)
  • K-PAX (2001)
  • Lackawanna Blues (2005)


  • Girlfriends (2003)


External links[]