"Holler if Ya Hear Me" is the most exciting new musical to hit Broadway in years.
When you hear Saul Williams "holler"-you bear witness to the future
"There's something powerful about hip-hop on the stage, you know and it hasn't really been explored yet."
His map was drawn by the late Tupac Shakur:
"Tupac died at the age of 25 and so when you look back at his body of work you know (there's only) there's over 500 sings released.
"I always felt Tupac was speaking directly to me. I think that's part of the reason so many people, so many prisoners, so many impoverished- youth so many people have a love affair going with Tupac is because they always felt directly spoken to"
Shakur died almost 18 years ago but his mother Afeni has lent her support to the show- she came with Madonna last week- and spoke to the star after his performance:
"She's like 'maybe you'll re-encounter Saul Williams when you go home tonight, but my son entered your body at that point & I saw my son and heard my son through you,'" he recalled.
"Holler if Ya Hear Me" takes its title from one of his raps - but it is not about Tupac's life. Instead his words are used to tell a fictional tale of urban life not often seen on Broadway and that is drawing a whole new crowd:
"It's young. It's old. It's extremely diverse."
"And every night they come-up and say, 'I didn't know what to expect and thank you. That was theater. That was moving. I am changed.'"
Saul Williams emerges as a Broadway star after decades spent as a poet. He grew up in Newburg and got his start composing rhymes for drug dealers to use on their girlfriends. The gangstas in turn protected him from the violence of his neighborhood.
Tupac musical "Holla if Ya Hear Me" hits Broadway