Finally: Some Music
The subject of my first post about [actual] music strays slightly from the type of music typically heard streaming from the speakers in my bedroom or the playlists from my weekly radio show, but I'm not one for stereotypes, so here we go.
I have a crazy amount of respect for this rapper from San Francisco who goes by only his sir name: Watsky. My appreciation for his artistry comes from his poetic background and the fact that he is a stellar lyricist. He transitioned, in a way that almost seems effortless, from one artform to success in another. Although rap music and spoken word poetry are not all that different, Watsky's music takes his already substantial talent in poetry to a whole new level. He raps extremely fast although remains coherent. [Check out his original claim to fame called "Pale Kid Raps Fast"- a viral video that has since been removed from his YouTube channel.] The most notable difference between Watsky's poetry and rapping is his ability to make a beat with his words. I guess that's what some people [who feel way more comfortable being cool enough to say it than me] call flow. Rather than his words going along to the music, the music seems to follow his words. His rapping drives the beat rather than the music itself. This is a phenomenon that I really haven't heard often. And I like it.
Another quality seems to set him apart from the popular rap music of today. [I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on the genre as Watsky is one of few rap artists that I have deeply familiarized myself with, so this comment may be far from the truth (and feel free to correct me), but that is why we call it an opinion.]
The quality I'm talking about is Watsky's ability to move from a serious to comical context swiftly and easily- all topics strikingly down to earth. His lyrics are smart and meaningful. He uses metaphor and humor to get his point across. He has a unique way of making you understand what he is trying to say. His last album Cardboard Castles (2013) is a perfect example of these qualities. Kill a Hipster (featuring Chinaka Hodge) comedically accuses hipsters of taking over everything (and, surprise, they take over the end of the track). Later on the album, Sloppy Seconds describes the intense realization that you might be messed up, but everyone is. He says "I'm fucked up just like you are and you're fucked up just like me". An almost heartbreaking realization, but true. In the track Hey, Asshole (featuring Kate Nash) the chorus says "Hey, asshole. See, the sun is shining, but you're not smiling and I don't know why". It's kind of funny, but it couldn't be more straight up.
His down to earth nature extends from his music to his attitude toward the music industry. Knowing the struggles of broke college kids, Watsky never has been in it for the money. He truly just wants his music out there doing for others what poetry originally did for him. The most obvious example is his habit of providing some music online for free asking fans to only buy an album if it is financially feasible for them. He didn't want money to be the only thing standing in the way between his music and people who wanted to hear it. It's not a surprise that he's finding success anyway.
The main reason that I wanted to talk about Watsky in this post is because his new album All You Can Do is coming out soon. He recently released it's first single Woah Woah Woah with an artful video. In this song, his flow drives the beat more than I have ever heard from him before. The minimalist baseline is all that is needed to support his voice and the song is nicely rounded off with a catchy chorus. It definitely doesn't disappoint. The song is worth a listen [and another and another] and the video is worth a watch. I couldn't be more excited for the album. It drops August 12th.