George Watsky, the rapper/spoken word poet who’s been creating content for YouTube well past his viral, “fast rap” hit, believes in authenticity above all else. He explained how this doesn’t clash with the drive to entertain to Rhett & Link on “Ear Biscuits.”
With a new album, “All You Can Do,” released on August 12 already topping hip-hop and rap charts, an upcoming world tour (that will take him as far as India and Australia), and a continuing presence on YouTube in his and other creators’ videos, Watsky has a lot going for him in various realms of entertainment. But that doesn’t mean he’s out there milking the industry for all its worth. Rather, Watsky is very selective about the art with which he chooses to represent himself. He cares about what he does, and what he does is entertain — well.
For instance, take Watsky’s latest album. Of the songs, he said, “Every one on the album is one that I believe in…I wouldn’t put it on the album unless I truly loved it.” The videos that go with these songs get a similarly special treatment before going public. Watsky works with a “very close knit circle of filmmakers in LA” on the videos in a “completely collaborative manner.” They all sit together, deciding which songs will make the best videos, and figuring from there how to turn them into realities.
The music video for “Whoa Whoa Whoa” serves as a strong example of the group’s work. They used a filming technique that makes the video look as if it continues to loop back on itself while Watsky keeps on rapping. In order to accomplish this, Watsky and his team, including the director of photography who came up with the idea, had to use multiple shots, an opacity camera function, and a helmet…just to give you a sense of the work they put in.
That being said, Watsky still understands the importance of engaging audience in a world perhaps overcrowded by entertainment options. “In this day and age, having somebody’s attention is so much of a commodity you have to make sure that every moment of what you do is engaging and entertaining,” he explained, adding that it’s “so easy to fall off the map and lose people’s attention.”
This means that Watsky is “willing to do a little dance” if that’s what gets viewers to start listening to his other work, the dance referring to his viral “Watsky Raps Fast” video. There’s value in drawing in people with “flashier” content so that they’ll get a chance to experience the work that creators put together with the utmost care and authenticity.
That’s not to say that being an entertainer is inherently inauthentic. As Watsky noted, “I believe there’s nothing wrong with being an entertainer…I think acknowledging your audience is a respectful thing.” For Watsky, entertaining is about communicating with his audiences, which makes him a perfect candidate for fame in the YouTube age.
For more candid, and often self-deprecating, banter, tune into Watsky’s interview on “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”