Saul Williams is a musician who has done everything from work with Trent Reznor to star as Tupac Shakur on Broadway. Listening to “Burundi,” it will come as no surprise that he’s also an incredible slam poet. He lists Beyoncé, Fredo Santana, and Haitian field recordings as his inspirations, and those disparate influences are completely present on the track. “Burundi” is the lead single off his sixth album MartyrLoserKing and today he’s doubled down on the ferocious song by releasing an urgent, roiling video for it. All throughout you can hear the Emily Kokal of Warpaint’s ghostly, insistent harmonies accompanying his viciously spat lyrics, while computer code, urban layouts and video footage of various political uprisings flash behind and around him. This is protest in motion, a powerful statement from an artist who refuses to back down or be labeled a victim. He turns anger into fuel, emotions combusting in aggressive flashes that demands attention. It was directed by Kivu Ruhorahoza and the graphics are by Antonio Ribeiro. Watch.
MartyrLoserKing is out on July via FADER Label.