Williams, Saul : Black Stacey

Racial consciousness and battle beats from New York prophet

Hip-hop’s gradual apoliticisation is a sad, if perhaps inevitable, consequence of the fact that chatting about firing automatic weaponry – and significantly, not debating the merits of positive discrimination and whatnot – is a really good laugh. Not so for Saul Williams. An ex-thespian dosed up on black rage, his ‘Black Stacey’ relates the black experience from the Haitian slave trade to shortcomings of the modern hip-hop fraternity in five distilled, polemic-heavy minutes. It’s like watching one of those Barclaycard adverts featuring Samuel L Jackson in a New Orleans jazz dive, while smoking really strong ganja from a pipe made out of a human skull. And kudos to Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin, too, whose remix reinvents the original as a battle-stepping dancehall number scarred with bass booms that erupt like miniature mushroom clouds.