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Rap Opera

by Victoria Wasylak

Photography by Victoria Wasylak

White dudes can rap. Whether or not you believe it or think they should remain irrelevant in the face of George Watsky spinning his comical rhymes, lips moving at an unholy pace to recount tales in a tiny timeframe. Matters of labels and genre fall to the wayside when discussing the Los Angeles rapper, who performs as a storyteller above all else. Watsky brought his hip-hop showcase, featuring Witt Lowry, Daye Jack and Chukwudi Hodge, to the House of Blues on October 23.

While veiled in the shadows, the master raconteur began his saga with “Lovely Thing Suite: Knots.”

“What a tangle /What a strangling knot to be caught in /To be exiled here /To be stuck in Berlin with Vienna so near /Yet so far from the Emperor's ear,” Watsky spoke, anointing the night of spoken word with some particularly Shakespearean lyrics. Casting the initial ye-olde style of the opening tune aside, the rapper shifted to the aggressive “Moral of the Story” and “Ugly Faces,” ceaselessly jiving to his own rhythm atop amps in the faces of the crowd.

The Boston show marked Watsky’s largest show of his career thus far, which smartly occurred at the world’s largest House of Blues. The showcase had sandwiched four rappers into three years, an especially impressive feat considering that Watsky performed for half of the entire allotted time.

“When you have the biggest show, we have the responsibility to make this the best show we’ve ever played,” the rapper said as he announced his band’s achievement of the night. With a four-loko amount of vigor, Watsky and Co. tore through a set of the quintessential Watsky, from “Wounded Healer” to “Tiny Glowing Screens, Part 1.”

Atop two bar stools, middle finger extended, he proclaimed, “fuck you if you if you love a car for its paint job / love you if you love a car for the road trips,” the famous first lines of popular Cardboard Castles track “Sloppy Seconds.”

This is exactly the George Watsky who poem’d his way to the biggest House of Blues and released eleven albums, EPs and mixtapes in a matter of nine years. It’s also the same George Watsky who graduated from Emerson in 2010 and made the rounds at small venues like the Lizard Lounge in his early days.

“This is bananas,” Watsky said at the end of the show. “I’ve got shit to take to the grave right now.”

And with a rousing rendition of “Whoa Whoa Whoa,” perhaps the most middle-finger-up tune of the night, the musical narrator slipped offstage after his most memorable show to date.

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