Saul Williams
OTL 71: Saul Williams Excerpt #3 “The first Hip Hopera”
Saul Williams: So in third grade was the same year I started rapping, cause that's the year T La Rock "It's Yours" came out, and that made me wanna rhyme. And so, I was studying Shakespeare that year, I had a cla** called "Shake Hands with Shakespeare", and I started studying French that year. So that year I started writing rhymes in old English, and in French. Yeah of course! I'm just trying to use everything I know. I'm 9 years old, 8 years old -- I know a little bit. I've learned some old English, I think it's fascinating and so I'm like "Well if thou shouldeth come to my street today, you will find..." you know! I was always trying to blend it. When I moved to Brazil when I was 16, I started writing what I called a "Hip Hopera". Which I then saw coined 10 years later

SameOldShawn: I was going to say, I've seen 1 or 2 shows recently with that name

Saul Williams: Yeah, yeah. I tried doing that when I was 16, cause I was always interested in musicals, I always came to the theater, and I liked them on film as well. Mary Poppins, even as an a**** I thought was brilliant. And Jesus Christ Superstar, even take away all the religious sh*t -- the performances and the songwriting was out of this world. It's the role of Judas that stands out actually that's amazing in the film Jesus Christ Superstar. And so I tried to write a hip hop version of Jesus Christ Superstar when I was in Brazil. The idea was to do kind of a jukebox musical. I remember one scene, which was the sermon on the mount "blessed are the so and so's" and the people, like, catch the Holy Spirit and start speaking in tongues. So, I used Rob Base and EZ Rock, because I imagined Jesus speaking and the people catching the spirit and going "Woo, yeah! Woo, yeah! Woo, yeah!" like one by one people waking up, "Woo, yeah!"