48. "Black Stacey" by Saul Williams
I was introduced to Saul Williams early on, with the film Slam, and while he was good and the film was cool, I didn't pay him any mind as an artist. Skip ahead about 6 or so years, and I was re-introduced to him as a music artist working with Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha on the song "Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)," which blew me away. I picked up the 2004 self-titled album not too long after and could not stop listening to it. From the first track to the twelfth and final, it was brilliant on so many levels and in so many ways that it always left me speechless. The auto-biographical "Black Stacey" always hit me with its message, its music and its raw intensity. It was beautiful and angry, sad and strong, humorous and self-deprecating, and more than anything else, honest and touching. Williams quickly became one of my most respected artists, and now anything he's involved in is an automatic purchase. I've seen him live and he's even more powerful without the studio polish. This song in particular, live, was an experience I'll not soon forget.