Saul Williams Details Why Tupac Musical "Holler If Ya Hear Me" Closed Early

Saul Williams compares the forced closure of the Broadway play to Iggy Azalea's current status in Rap.

Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Broadway play inspired by Tupac Shakur’s music, ended its run only a month in, apparently due to financial difficulties. Saul Williams, who portrayed the lead in the play, says in an interview with Rolling Stone that it was cancelled due to a lack of promotion and that “there was something deeply embedded in a lot of the reviews that went deeper than just a dislike of the play.”

“There is no disconnect between this and Iggy Azalea, an Australian girl rapping with a Southern accent, being #1 on the charts,” Williams says in the Rolling Stone interview. “It's all related to where we are right now as a culture and within the culture of the arts.”

Williams also said that activist Harry Belafonte, who said in a 2012 interview that Jay-Z and Beyonce "turned their back on social responsibility," made comments about the play’s cultural standing to him after seeing the play. "'You took an Afrocentric-themed play and placed it on a Eurocentric stage,'” Belafonte said, according to Williams. “'The problems you'll face are larger than you think.'”

As for the future of Hip Hop musicals on Broadway, Williams says, “Who are we fooling? More Hip Hop musicals are inevitable if Broadway wishes to survive.”

Williams does not anticipate that this is the end of Holler If Ya Hear Me.

“When you do something fresh and new,” Williams said, “you're going to face obstacles and I promise you this story isn't over.”

For more Tupac coverage, watch the following DX Daily:

 

19 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Broadway's been in existence for many years. It doesn't need some goofy 2pac musical with some of the worst scrubs ever to walk the face of this earth. They performed on The Today Show and the audience was just dead during the whole performance. Their faces said it all. WTF is this shit lol It's shameful to try and milk a few bucks once again off a dead rapper's name. Let him RIP in hell.

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    He overlooks the main reason: the story it was based on wasn't interesting or good. For a play to work it needs to be a good story people want to see. It has nothing to do with subject matter. Everyone went to see a musical about Mormonism; if you can't make a hip hop stage show work then you have shit writers.

  • Anonymous

    knaan was a somali-canadian, yet no one points out his rapping in english. sure its different languages, but its not so dissimilar. Why must someone spit in their mother tongue or accent? Shit, I find every rapper trying to spit in patois way more laughable....and almost every rapper does it once...

  • Anonymous

    dude is wrong to bring iggy azalea into this tbh. its an easy target, but ppl act like just cause she's white woman she gotta be capitalizing on it. So if a black man does it, its a lesser offence?

    • Anonymous

      Iggy can only capitalize if people are willing to accept her. She's still putting in the work, and fans are rewarding that. It's always the people who fail at something who want to pass the blame to avoid having to accept their failure.

  • falin

    maybe because the released versions of tracks sucked the dick and sounded like a joke broadway parody of his songs.

  • Steve

    It failed because you tried cashing in on a irrelevant dead guys name.

    • Anonymous

      irrelevant so everybody still namedrops him to this day and keeps riding his dick in every interview, documentary, everything?

  • Anonymous

    They should stop calling it a Tupac musical cuz the story has nothing to do with Tupac. Some hungry marketing people shot themselves in the foot by saying "if we lie and say it's a Pac musical people will be tricked into seeing it!! hahaha!" when that isn't even what the people want. They should have given it a non-pac title, and said FEATURING Pacs music, then people would have given it a shot.

    • Anonymous

      Everyone was like "the tupac sections were the best part." It wasn't a Tupac story, it was a shit story with a Tupac theme, for some fucking reason. They wanna say it was daring and controversial and kept people away, but it wasn't. It was a shit play that didn't get word-of-mouth promotion like every single other play gets. If it were good, people would go to it. Plays don't have these magical marketing budgets people imagine. It's reviews.

    • Anonymous

      MARKETING FLOPPED BEFORE THE ACTUAL PLAY!!!! U CAN BET THEY TAKE THE EXACT SAME PLAY AND GIVE IT A WHOLE NEW BRANDING AND WATCH PPL AC TUALLY GO SEE IT LMAO!!!!

    • Anonymous

      you can bet if it was just a regular hood musical featuring his music the hipsters (which is what broadway viwers are made up of) would have eaten it up. But bragging to your friends that you saw a "Tupac Musical" is jsut too strong for wimpy hipster tastes

  • Anonymous

    This play was good but a lot of people were turned off at the idea of seeing Tupacs story on stage. Fact is it has nothing to do with Tupacs biography, it's an all original story featuring his music. Pacs name eclipsed the actual play and didn't allow it to stand on its feet. Where is his ghost telling people how to do the marketing?

  • Jam

    It was just a shitty play. I saw them performing on thew news and they were doing a Tupac song in some gay ass spoken word shit.

    • Kevin

      True...I auditioned for some workshops for this musical. All I thought was this is the most contrived, generic, forced shit I have ever read. All praise to HipHop and her prophet Pac but this musical was blasphemy.

    • Anonymous

      good to see you're a slave to public perception, jam

    • Anonymous

      so you're going to take a 10 second news clip of them covering a pac song (which isn't even what it's about) and say the whole play is shitty without even knowing that it's an original story?

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