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Saul Williams Stays on Message During Supercharged Set

August 3, 2008 11:40 PM ET

"We on stage know that race is a social construct and we can go beyond it. So you can you!" No, those words didn't come from the mouth of Barack Obama but of Saul Williams, whose side stage performance attracted a path-blocking throng of onlookers. And Williams thrilled with a mix of industrial gristle, glam-rock theatrics, bristling hip-hop and poetic free-styling that was as hybrid-fused as his philosophies. Here was revolutionary music absent nostalgic shackles. Genre-bending songs such as "Niggy Tardust," "WTF!" and "Black Stacey" were simultaneously angry and provocative, while Williams and his mates' homemade costumes ensured that humor played just as much of a part in the festivities as fury.

More Lollapalooza Coverage: Rock 'N' Roll Diary

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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