It has been awhile since I’ve done an interview but I’m proud to bring back this feature with a rapper that is currently blowin’ up! If you haven’t checked him out before, here are two of his tracks that I posted a little earlier this year:
Definitely keep an eye out for this dude in the coming years, he’s doing some dope, innovative stuff! Without further ado, George Watsky:
CHH: For those who don’t know, who are you?
George Watsky (GW): Hi, I’m George. I rap, write things and perform.
CHH: This blog is dedicated to “catchy” hip hop — hip hop that I have kind of defined as universally enjoyable. How would you define “catchy”? As an artist, do you find that word kind of taboo? Why or why not?
GW: I think melody and repeated patterns are the main things that stick in people’s brains. I have no problem with trying to make appealing music. That’s the packaging and the way in, and there’s no reason that catchy, pleasant music can’t also include great content. I’m a lyricist, so my agenda is always first and foremost to push the envelope with my words. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to make challenging lyrics easier to digest.
CHH: You’ve garnered a lot of awards and acclaim for your spoken word work. How has your experience in spoken word influenced your hip hop work and vice versa?
GW: I think my poetry background has led me to write more concept-driven songs. The majority of my music takes a specific subject and explores it in song form: epilepsy, parents, family history, mortality, etc. etc. I think I do that more often than other rappers, who often just riff and free-associate.
CHH: I remember seeing a video interview where you mention that some of your lyrics are about personally traumatic/embarrassing things. However, it seems most of the hip hop world is all about “swagger” and that gaining respect from the community requires a certain amount of braggadocio. But you put yourself completely out there. What kind of ramifications have you seen, if any, by being so honest and open? Or better yet, how do you feel knowing so many people know you intimately through these lyrics?
GW: I think being open and honest is the basis for self-confidence. Faking or being in denial is not swagger. My brand of swagger is a little off-center, but that’s how I like it.
CHH: I’ve noticed that you’ve used facebook to reach out to your fans by doing these kind of “status cyphers“. Any particular fans’ replies stand out?
GW: Alex Fraknoi has had some great ones, but I can’t recall particular lines off the top of my head.
CHH: You have been very active in the “green”/climate change/sustainability movement throughout the years. Much of the public is resistant to the idea that there are some VERY pressing, scientifically-backed, concerns regarding climate change. As a sort of “professional communicator” and word artist, what do you think is the best way to convince people that we are up against a massive, global problem?
GW: I consider my job as an artist to process information and communicate about things I find pressing in my life. I’m not an activist, although I do believe in the power of art to make change. With that said, I’ve written a lot about climate change, but I don’t feel I’m carrying the mantle on the issue, largely because I’m an imperfect consumer myself, and I don’t want to tell people how they have to live their lives.
CHH: You’ve been maintaining a number of careers including rapper, spoken word artist, and author. Which do you find is your priority?
GW: Right now rap has taken the forefront, because there’s such a larger audience for it, but I’m still doing poetry and won’t ever stop.
CHH: What is a typical day like for Watsky?
GW: If I’m on the road, wake up at 4:30am, drive to the airport, park in long-term parking, fly to Ohio or wherever, rent a car, spend an hour in the hotel, go to the college i’m performing at, read poetry for an hour, go to Applebees alone, back to the hotel, sleep for 3 hours and go back to the airport. If I’m home in LA, wake up at 10AM, write all day and answer emails, watch Pawn Stars at night.
CHH: Do you ever get recognized on the street?
GW: Yeah, every so often. It’s always an awesome feeling for me.
CHH: Regular, chocolate, banana, or strawberry milk?
CHH: What inspires the hell out of you?
GW: Going to great concerts.
CHH: Shout-outs, upcoming projects, life goals?
GW: Shout out to Pauly Shore, Ellen DeGeneres, NicePeter, MC Mr. Napkins, Bo Burnham, my Mom and Dad, Lil B, Jesus, Buddha, and the San Francisco Giants.
[And here is your CHH song of the day from the man himself. Big thanks to George Watsky for taking the time to do this interview!]