Slam is a 1998 independent film starring Saul Williams and Sonja Sohn. It tells the story of a young African-American man whose talent for poetry is hampered by his social background. It won the Grand Jury Prize for a Dramatic Film at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.
Raymond Joshua (played by Saul Williams) is a young man growing up in the Southeast Washington D.C. area known as Dodge City. Despite his innate gift for poetry and his aspiration to be a rapper, he finds it difficult to escape the pressures of his surroundings: violence and drug dealing.
While participating in a drug deal gone bad, Ray's close friend is shot, and Ray is caught by the police and sent to prison. When his lawyer explains the judicial system & his 'options' (or lack thereof) Ray despairs, particularly as he is being pressured to participate in a drug culture "inside" very similar to what he was a part of "outside." Ray is unwilling to take a "side", unwilling to believe that his options are limited to the choices he's being presented with.
When threatened with violence in the prison yard, he retaliates with words, speaking the truths that he's witnessed in the form of a poetic rap meant to show the other