5" die-cut patch on black canvas.
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An incredibly disproportionate number of my favorite songs involve Saul Williams. My first exposure to him is probably the face-meltingly strange 'Twice the First Time', which I found on a compilation from Ninja Tune somewhere in the 2001-zone.
Almost immediately after that, and quite by coincidence, he appeared in similar and yet amplified life-ruining capacity on 'Coded Language' from DJ Krust. If you have never heard either of these two songs, you should...if only to understand and see—plainly; easily—that Williams fills out the Hateball Trinity alongside K. Vonnegut and Howard Philips L.
Clearly, my aspiration is such that I am willing to be a cheap knockoff.
So, as you can imagine, when Williams released an album completely produced by Trent Reznor (another Pantheonic hero of mine)—The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust—I consumed and reconsumed and studied and pondered and meditated.
It is beautiful, accomplished, complex, and yet still appealing music. But...I was confronted. I am confronted.
How can I sing along with a chorus that includes 'The Nigger is You' in it? How am I able to claim this music as something that helps an outsider identify me when it is composed and performed by someone who has such a starkly different background and point of view as me?
I don't have the answer to this or questions like this. But I do know that I identify with this music; the intellectualism via emotionalism that is woven deeply throughout anything Williams touches. The wordplay, the closeness...the danger in his performance is...attractive to me.
And so, the sextuple entendre and double-double meanings of this couplet remind me that even though my life—my point of view; me—are so very very different from this man and his background, if one zooms out far enough so that one surveys from a cosmic perspective, we're not different at all. We're exactly the same.