Saul Williams

Saul Williams


To thousands of youth across America, Saul Williams has defined and redefined poetry as an accessible, living art form. His poetry has served as the archetype for a new generation of poets and spoken word artists.


Saul Williams's groundbreaking work as a writer and actor in the critically acclaimed film, Slam (Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize ’98; Cannes’ Camera D’Or ’98), placed him as a figurehead of the spoken word/slam poetry movement that has spread across the United States and culminated in such commercial successes as Def Poetry Jam. He is the author of three collections of poetry: ,said the shotgun to the head., She, and The Seventh Octave. His newest book, The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop, gives readers a tour of the history of hip-hop. His musical debut, Amethyst Rock Star, was produced by legendary rock/hip-hop producer, Rick Rubin, and received high praises, such as “album of the year” by The Times of London. In November 2007, Williams released his third album, The Inevitable Rise and Fall of NiggyTardust, produced and backed up by Trent Raznor of Nine Inch Nails.

Williams has presented his work at nearly one hundred universities and colleges in the US and abroad. He has performed, toured, and lectured across the world and perhaps, is the nation’s youngest poet to have his writings added to the curriculum of dozens of high schools and colleges across the country. Williams has made several television appearances, including: a recurring role on the UPN hit sitcom Girlfriends; HBO’s Def Poetry Jam; The Orlando Jones Show; The Chris Rock Show; Politically Incorrect; and many more. His writings appear in several anthologies and periodicals such as Catch the Fire, and The New York Times.

His recent work has been of worldly importance as he has contributed his skills to the ‘Not In Our Name’ pro-peace initiative. His draft of their Pledge of Resistance served as a manifesto of millions across the world who have sought to stop the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2005, Williams performed with the Basel Symphony Orchestra of Switzerland, a symphony based on his latest book ,said the shotgun to the head, composed by the legendary Thomas Kessler. For more information please visit


Talk to Strangers

Written By: Saul Williams

Nah, I wasn't raised at gunpoint and I've read too many books
To distract me from the mirror, when unhappy with my looks
And I ain't got proper diction for the makings of a thug
Though I grew up in the ghetto and my niggers all sold drugs

And though that may validate me for a spot on MTV
Or get me all the airplay that my bank account would need
I was hoping to invest in a lesson that I learned
I thought this fool had jumped me just because it was my turn

I went to an open space 'cause I knew he wouldn't do it
If somebody there could see him or somebody else might prove it
And maybe in your eyes, it may seem I got punked out
'Cause I walked a narrow path and then went and changed my route

But that openness exposed me to a truth I couldn't find
In the clenched fists of my ego or the confines of my mind
Or the hipness of my swagger or the swagger in my step
Or the scowl of my grimace or the meanness of my rep

'Cause we represent a truth, son, the changes by the hour
And when you open to it, vulnerability is power
And in that shifting form, you'll find a truth that doesn't change
And that truth is living proof of the fact that God is strange

Talk to strangers, when the family fails and friends lead you astray
When Buddha laughs and Jesus weeps and it turns out God is gay
'Cause Angels and Messiahs, love can come in many forms
In the hallways of your projects or the fat girl in your dorm

And when you finally take the time to see what they're about
Perhaps you find them lonely or their wisdom trips you out
Maybe you'll find the spot where cycles end
You're back where you began
But come this time around, you'll have someone to hold your hand

Who prays for you, who is there for you, who sends you love and light
Exposes you to parts of you that you once tried to fight
But come this time around, you'll choose to walk a different path
You'll embrace what you turned away and cry at what you laughed

'Cause that's the only way we're going to make it through this storm
Where ignorance is common sense and senselessness the norm
And flags wave high above the truth and the two never touch
And stolen goods are overpriced and freedom costs too much

And no one seems to recognize the symbols come to life
The bitten apple on the screen and Jesus had a wife
And she was his Messiah like that stranger may be yours
Who holds a subtle knife that carves through worlds like magic doors

And that's what I've been looking for, the bridge from then to now
Just watching BET like what the fuck, son? This is foul
But that square box don't represent the sphere that we live in
The earth is not a flat screen, I ain't trying to fit in

But this ain't for the underground, this here is for the sun
A seed a stranger gave to me and planted on my tongue
And when I look at you, I know I'm not the only one
As a great man once said, there's nothing more powerful
Than an idea who's time has come

Convict Colony

Written By: Saul Williams

The legion is on fire!
The legion is on fire!
The legion is on fire!

[Saul Williams:]
I was born in a convict colony
And I was torn from the land that mothered me
Mother, may I? She said, "Yes, you may"
Well, today I... (Declare)
I said, right here, today!
You're a Convict Colony... if you're running from the sun!
You're a Convict Colony! A Convict Colony! And you don't really want it...
You don't really want it...

Convict! [x11]

[Saul Williams:]
I was birthed from the Earth
Fought my way to this day
Now, I'm grown... Truth be told
I'll be here, 'til you're gone
You're a Convict Colony! If you're running from the sun!
You're a Convict Colony! If you're reaching for your gun!
You're a Convict Colony! If you're running from the sun!
You're a Convict Colony! A Convict Colony! And you don't really want it...
You don't really want it! [x11]
You don't really want!


2007- Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust
2004- Saul Williams
2003- Not in My Name
2001- Amethyst Rock Star