"He Is That Person" – Saul Williams on Prince and changing the world through music

Recorded in the midst of the worldwide shock and mourning, this episode departs just a bit from the approach we’ve taken so far in Liquid Music Playlist. In the second part of the conversation, “hip hop’s poet laureate” (CNN), Saul Williams, talks extensively about his intimate experiences with the “divine communicator” Prince Rogers Nelson and the enormous impact Prince had on musicians, artists, and listeners alike.  Williams begins the interview with insights into his multimedia work MartyrLoserKing, hacking as performance art, and “music as the weapon of the future” (Fela Kuti) as well as his Liquid Music Series performance with the Mivos Quartet, which included the premieres of two world premiere commissions by Jace Clayton and Ted Hearne (co-commissioned with The Givens Foundation for African American Literature). 

“There are so many people growing up now with manufactured sound – with manufactured artists – with manufactured careers – manufactured ideas wrapped in plastic and sold to you. Prince never allowed that to touch the essence of what he created. Because he understood creation and he understood the potentiality and the power of music and of art itself. And so, if there is any lesson that we can learn from Prince, it’s to continue to let our middle fingers go up to the industry, to the manufacturing of ideas and realize that that divine independence that connects us as human beings – to life, to this planet, to the whole, to the spirit, to love – that we have to continue to investigate that though sound, through voice, through heart, through rhythm, through guitar, through all this stuff, and we cannot let whoever these moguls are get in the way of musical freedom.” - Saul Williams

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  1. Saul Williams: Groundwork from MartyrLoserKing
  2. Williams: Horn of the Clock-Bike from MartyrLoserKing
  3. Thomas Kessler: Said the Shotgun to the Head – Saul Williams, WDR Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Stockhammer
  4. Kessler: NGH WHT – Saul Williams, Mivos Quartet (unreleased)
  5. Prince: God from The Hits/The B-Sides
  6. Prince & the Revolution: Sometimes it Snows in April from Parade (Music from Under the Cherry Moon)

Sponsored by McNally Smith College of Music


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