Saul Williams
Amethyst Rock Star


5.0
classic

Review

by rogerdiscoversherpes USER (10 Reviews)
May 8th, 2010 | 10 replies | 5,847 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Setting the benchmark for poets and MCs everywhere.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Saul Williams really is something special. I don't think it would be too much of stretch to place him near the summit of the top lyricists of our generation. While other slam poets such as Buddy Wakefield and B.Dolan need to churn out pure spoken word records to show off their genius (B. Dolan's latest hip-hop offering required certain lyrical sacrifices), Saul Williams, even in his début, is able to effortlessly blend profundity and flow. Add some quirky beats and novel song structures to the mix and you have an irresistible cocktail.

Amethyst Rock Star is one of those rare transcendent albums. Regardless of your particular musical proclivities, regardless of any prejudice you may have against hip-hop or spoken word, the sheer artfulness of Williams' maiden offering will coax admiration out of even the most begrudging of listeners. Why is this? Short answer: it's pretty damn refreshing to hear somebody both smart and talented behind the mic. Shying away from clichés of both genres he straddles, Williams has a unique voice which he maintains throughout the album. He pays homage to the great hip-hop standards, but frequently chides the genre's increasingly asinine tendencies, invoking the spirit of the movement's pioneers. Similarly, while what he spews is undoubtedly poetic, he doesn't – with the exception of "Robeson" – become mired in dense narratives designed to convey an aesthetic at the expense of musicality. Equal parts introspective and outward-looking, balancing both philosophical musings and unassuming social commentary, Amethyst Rock Star can't help but draw you in to Williams' world.

It's not just a case of what Williams says however, but also how he says it. Every track on the album is chock-full of mind-bending imagery and turns of phrase which paint compelling, constantly shifting pictures in your mind. Indeed, every track requires multiple listens to grasp every allusion and intimation. Furthermore, as alluded to, while the album takes a couple of spoken word detours on tracks such as "Untimely Meditations" and the aforementioned "Robeson", Amethyst Rock Star is primarily a hip-hop album. Most tracks have plenty of interesting flow and beats that (although on the minimal side) keep the head bobbing. I challenge anybody to listen to "Tao Of Now", "1987" and "Om Nia Merican" and not find themself unconsciously nodding their heads. Again though, as with the vocals, there's nothing generic about the production; Williams' musical voice strives to be just as unique as his lyrical one.

Many Williams fans will argue that the album is a bit of a rough diamond and that his self-titled follow-up represents a marked improvement. I remain obstinate in my disagreement however. While, certainly, his eponymous effort is equally impressive and probably more polished in all areas, Amethyst Rock Star stands out as an astonishing work of raw creativity that is lyrically and creatively unrivalled. You feel as if you are listening to something fresh, something new and something special. It is an experience.



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user ratings (59)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
tinkrbel
May 8th 2010



1698 Comments


i think u were troll pos'd since there r no comments

rogerdiscoversherpes
May 8th 2010



34 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

*Shrug*

I'm not really pre-occupied with the review critique culture of the site. People can troll rep to their heart's content, positively or negatively.

tinkrbel
May 8th 2010



1698 Comments


ur rite cant do anything about it anyway

somberlain
May 9th 2010



2121 Comments


great review!
I need to look into this

ConsiderPhlebas
May 14th 2010



6157 Comments


Most of my conversations with men seem to revolve around music.

rogerdiscoversherpes
May 14th 2010



34 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That line always sticks out for me lol.

Slipping Away
May 14th 2010



1261 Comments


only heard niggy tardust and i liked it, might have to check this out

rogerdiscoversherpes
May 14th 2010



34 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It's quite different from Niggy Tardust, but much better in my opinion.

random
October 17th 2012



2243 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"Fearless" is bad.

InFiction
April 7th 2013



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Listened to this yesterday. Knocked me flat.



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