"Break" was produced and composed by Trent Reznor for Saul Williams' third studio album, The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!.
Saul Williams on "Break"
"If I remember correctly, Trent wrote this track while reading my book, The Dead Emcee Scrolls. The chorus is him reading parts of the poem NGH WHT over the beat. I had told him I wanted to record a hip hop song with an unconventional time signature. When he handed me this track I was in shock. First because I didn't expect him to read my poetry and then because he said he recorded the chorus (as u hear it) with the intention of me replacing it with my own voice. I was quickly, like, "Dude, we gotta keep ur voice on the track". I heard Trent playing a twangy guitar riff that I really liked when we were mixing (I think he was in the next room testing a new pedal or sumthin and I asked him to play that same riff at the end of the song. It worked. Then he asked me to do the vocal riffs which also worked."
Trent Reznor on "Break"
"Born in the woods of Malibu in a small place I was staying in from the simple challenge: can we make a piece of music Saul can flow over that combines unusual time signatures without sounding like math-rock? Atticus and I did the chorus by recording several 2-bar long heavy rock "songs" we then sampled and performed on the MPC. Fun to do and I still get goosebumps when Saul sings verse 2."
- Music by Trent Reznor (Leaving Hope)
- Words by Saul Williams (Punk Rock of Gibraltar/EMI)
- Vox: Saul Williams and Trent Reznor
This version is heard on The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!.
And when my fears arise I blow them out. Death creeps through the streets over programmed beats. A rabid dog in heat on a dead end street. Oil slicks, the only rainbows that canvas gray concrete. Shadows of skyscrapers fall when Mohammed speaks. Corpses piled in heaps. Sores and decay, reeks. Placing tags on feet. A Nike Air Force Fleet. Custom made. Unique. Still in box. White sheet. Ripened blue, black, sweet. White tank top, wife beat… Hearts in two-step beat… Break. Dance pray work whip… Break. Neck jump back kiss… Break. Ashes, dust, kill, crush… Break. Consider yourself: less than, inferior to, half man, superior to woman, unbearable likeness. Consider yourself: almost, never quite, dark-skinned, lily white, black as sin, devils den, whiteness. Consider yourself: outcast, criminal, unseen, invisible, point blank, ready cocked trigger. Consider yourself: Hardcore, dirt poor, hustler, BCH, whore, reverend, doctor. Nigger. Hearts in two-step beat… Break. Dance pray work whip… Break. Neck jump back kiss… Break. Ashes, dust, kill, crush… Break. Build up, pimp strut, slap…Break. Cotton, corn, crop, wheat…Break. Dance, whip, work, pray…Break. Neck, jump, back, kiss…Break. Let it out. Blow it out. Spit it out. Get it out. Beat. Beatings. Beats. Beasts. Get it out. By the horns and get it out. Cough it up and spit it out. Get it out. Break the cycle, break the chain, break the hurt and break the pain. All my doubts and all my fears, break the spell that keeps me here. Break the cycle, break the chain, break the whip and break the pain. Get it out. Spit it out. Break. Break. Break. Break.