Poet Saul Williams steps out of Trent Reznor's time machine to deliver one of the oddest hip-hop albums of the year, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust .
Williams is not what I would exactly call a natural MC; his rap candence adheres rather strongly to the ta-da ta-DA ta-daaah ta-Da old school jumprope variety, but his work as a poet (he was a key figure in the movie Slam) helps him rise above it. “Black History Month” rumbles up to you like the bass rattling from the car in the next lane, and he is backed with thug choir which can send chills up the spine of any white guy who dares to exclaim they are not a racist. Then “Convict Colony” erupts like a lost Living Color outtake. My first couple listens led me to think that this is the most outdated hip-hop revisionism I’d heard in ages; it is like when a DJ starts playing Sir Mix-a-Lot for a white dance floor until it hit me…oh, that is exactly what vein he's mining. (more...)