Artist Spotlight

Spotlight On: Chester Watson

After first hearing Chester Watson’s “Phantom” last year, I was instantaneously drawn to his enigmatic sinister-sounding instrumentals and nonchalant lyrical flow. Initially, I thought he might have been associated with Pro.Era but after digging through a multitude of hip-hop blogs, it seemed as if he was rolling on his own. It wasn’t even clear where he reigned from since his Soundcloud merely said his location was the US and his Tumblr was filled with images of skateboards and psychedelic artwork. At that time, the only thing I could find was that Chester was only 15 years old and producing his own music and videos. However, the lack of intel on this young prodigy only added to his mysterious persona and made him more intriguing as an new and upcoming rapper- I knew I had to keep an eye out for him.

A little over a year later, Chester has dropped two instrumental tapes, Guru vol. 1 and 2, filled with trippy synths and vibrant beats reminiscent of Flylo and DOOM. In addition, he’s played a major role in the Nü Age Syndicate collective, based in Georgia.

However, Chester’s biggest triumph has definitely been Tin Wooki, a five-act, twenty-eight track mixtape, produced, for the most part, by himself. Chester experiments with unusual sounds such as flutes, harps and cowbells and it definitely has a striking effect with his obscure flow. People might be quick to compare Chester to other young rappers like Earl Sweatshirt and Bishop Nehru; however, it’s evident that Chester unquestionably has thought-provoking bars filled with deadpan punch lines and an eclectic vocabulary (probably from all that studying for the SAT).

Although I do acknowledge Chester is well beyond his years, I am a bit critical with his monotonous tone. It works well with his eerie instrumentals but not all the time. It would be nice to see some more variation and energy in his flow and tone in his next productions. Chester is definitely capable of doing so; it is evident in “Smoke Veteran” and “Villain” on Tin Wooki and “Payps” on Phantom.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with Chester’s recent work; he has undoubtedly improved significantly from “Phantom”, and I only foresee an even brighter future for this prodigy. It will be exciting to hear more tracks from the Nü Age Syndicate and see a southern take on the whole rap collective trend blow up.

Words: Siv Nilsson



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