After beginning to write and perform slam poetry at the age of 15, George Watsky skyrocketed to popularity in the spoken-word scene. Known simply as Watsky, the 30-year-old has since moved on to other things, releasing his debut hip-hop album in 2009. His most notable (and unique) contribution to the rap scene was his participation in the Hamilton mixtape, performing a cut rap entitled An Open Letter. Watsky released his last album, x Infinity, in 2016.
The sound of the album is incredibly well put together. The opening track, Tiny Glowing Screens Part 3, is the third piece in a narrative that began on Cardboard Castles, and discusses the same concept of freezing time that the second part left off on. However, instead of the existentialist, depressing feel of part two, this track is all upbeat. Considering his roots in poetry, it is no surprise that Watsky is able to make the leap from sensation to sensation and take the audience with him. Throughout the album, he goes back and forth from more cheerful-sounding tracks to thought-provoking songs. Aside from the occasional typical rap song, the record covers darker topics, such as drug use, school shooters, and Donald Trump.
Actually, there’s a pretty excellent track on the album entitled Pink Lemonade; while I’m tempted to describe it as a diss track, it’s a commentary on the American people and the enthusiasm with which we buy into false authenticity in today’s society.
Despite all of the social commentary, there are some songs on the album that are more stereotypical for rap songs. They talk about the want of a glamorous life, breakups, sex- everything you might expect. Still, though, there is some inexplicable quality that lends an alternative feel to the entire album.
Perhaps it is the sheer complexity of the album that makes it so spectacular, or the prominent existentialism that is undeniably Watsky. Or maybe it is the fact that the album is a loop – the last track, Theories, leaves off where Tiny Glowing Screens Part 3 picks up (on what sounds like a crowded street with honking cars).
While generally white rappers can be viewed through a cringe-inducing lens, Watsky’s music is close enough to slam poetry that it doesn’t fit a specific genre. It is thought-provoking and intensely fascinating; and although George Watsky doesn’t exactly look like he’d be an interesting artist, he is far ahead of many others in the scene.