Saul Williams

The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!

[4/5]

Who knew the first effort from Trent Reznor, freed from his Interscope “slavery,” would be an album with poet/rapper Saul Williams, who sees modern-day slavery as a matter of course? While both collaborators share more than a morsel of Public Enemy DNA in their respective family trees, it’s still surprising to hear the triumph of NiggyTardust! as a fusing of spirits rather than mere collaboration. When the two meet head-on in the concentrated Million Man March of opener “Black History Month,” it’s downright thrilling. At times, Williams gets lost in Reznor’s buzzing din, a Negative Zone version of Year Zero right down to the vocal cadences on “WTF!” But the PE-sampling “Tr(n)igger” and the race-not-religion reboot of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” make the best argument for musical miscegenation since Sly & The Family Stone. (SELF-RELEASED) Erick Haight