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Rapper Unraveled: A Somewhat In-Depth Analysis of Poetry Slam Champ/Rapper George Watsky's Lyrics
Caleb Pershan | Photo: Gaby Esensten Photography | April 25, 2013
The Bay Area-born emcee Watsky, performing tonight at the Fillmore, gets the RapGenius treatment.
Spoken word boy genius and rapper George Watsky is coming home to the legendary Fillmore tonight, his first time headlining the venue, on the heels of the release of his first full-length studio album, Cardboard Castles. In anticipation, Watsky walked us through some of his rhymes:
From “Fuck an Emcee Name”:
You know my parents went and chose my emcee name at birth
I don’t need a mask to cover my ass, So why do you ask?
Go put me on blast, I’ll take you to task
This name is my last (gasp) so put it on my tombstone when I pass.
Watsky's explanation: “When I started writing I was mostly known for my spoken word poetry, where stage names are less common. I never wanted my spoken word identity to be different from my rap identity. I always wanted people to be able to listen to my poetry and my rap and feel like they were listening to the same person.”
From “Moral of the Story”:
And maybe someday you might see me in a glossy photo
No weirdo’s rocked the bells as hard as me since Quasimodo
Watsky's explanation: “That line is referencing the Rock the Bells festival tangentially, which was also an LL Cool J lyric before that. So yeah, I might be a little different, but I still consider myself a hip-hop head and I’m just trying to bring my own spin to it. I don’t ever wanna be the kinda rapper who says it doesn’t matter who came before me. I always try to put my best foot forward, even if I am a little Quasimodo like, a little different in the community.”
From “Tiny Glowing Screens Part 1”:
I’ve seen a person go to shows and raise a lighter app,
But if you’re at my concert please don’t ever try that crap
Watsky's explanation: “People do that all the time—it’s like that Louis C. K. bit in his recent standup special where people go to their kids’ plays and only watching them through their viewer screens on their phones instead of actually enjoying the experience that we’re part of. It’s crazy that you’re more likely to get people to be able to raise a lighter on their cell phone screens and how different that is from the 60’s and 70’s when you could get a whole sea of flames in the air. That doesn’t happen anymore. “
From “Dent in the Moon”:
I knew someday I’d be a big league star
Playing second base for the Giants wearing number 9
Rocking knee high socks if I just worked hard
Watsky's explanation: “I grew up going to games at Candlestick in the era of Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Matt Williams. Matt Williams was my favorite player. I remember meeting Royce Clayton at a fan appreciation day at the lot at Candlestick, and I was wearing my hat backwards. He turned it around on my head and told me that baseball players don’t wear their hat backwards, and for the next twelve years or something I never wore my hat backwards.”