So what if you weren’t the quarterback or the head cheerleader at your high school. George Watsky thinks you are cool.
For him and all the other kids out there on the lower end of the high school totem pole, Watsky’s “slam poetry” gives voice to the not so notable ones that walked the halls of shame in their adolescent years.
Hannah Williams, Communications major at Grove City College says, “It’s interesting to see poetry that is comedic. He’s funny, but it’s all about his delivery! Not everyone could pull it off.” For instance, his comically confident poem, “V is for Virgin” illustrates Watsky’s quirky style.
So who is this kid, you ask? And what is this thing called “slam poetry”?
Watsky appeared on the last season of the HBO show Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. He was the winner of the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam in 2006, and in 2007 as a freshman at Emerson College, he performed at over 150 universities all around the country.
Watsky’s self-released the album “Invisible Inc.” in 2007. His more notable 2010 self-titled album “Watsky” reached #7 on the iTunes hip-hop charts. In 2011, his YouTube video, “Pale kid raps fast” got him noticed by Ellen DeGeneres herself, leading to two appearances on her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
But that is not all. Watsky’s slam poetry went viral and led him to be dubbed by The Next Big Sound as a “Big Sound of 2011.” This made him one of 23 other artists such as Mac Miller, Kreayshawn and Shrillex to receive this title.
You are probably thinking, “Wow! This kid’s no joke!” But then you would be completely wrong.
His fun, off-beat style of rap poetry is what makes him special. He is a total jokester, and that is why people love him.
This type of poetry, called “slam poetry” focuses more on the delivery of the poem, than the actual poem itself. Any type of prop, costume, or music is prohibited in slam poetry (differentiating it from performance poetry). This makes the use of the spoken word that much more important to attract audiences – there is nothing else to hold their attention but the voice of the poet.
If you were to read his poem, “V is for Virgin” you would recognize a unique, artistic, and poetic ability through his use of words. But what makes Watsky memorable is his performance of the art form. Take a look for yourself and watch the video here.
Through the poem, “V is for Virgin”, Watsky revels in his lack of dirty laundry. His six pack of beer is a four pack of juice squeeze. His idea of fun is watching Star Trek marathons. His hot date with a girl consists of watching Fresh Prince re-runs. He thinks his peach fuzz is sexy. This “dorky white boy”, as he calls himself in the poem, is completely comfortable in his own skin which is what makes him so interesting and so successful.
Now that you have watched his performance of the poem, you can see how his enthusiasm on stage captures audiences. No wonder he has gotten so much attention in the past decade! His quirkiness and honesty is what seems to make him so appealing.
Tracy Haskins, English major and poetry lover from Grove City College says, “His speaking style is interesting and easy to relate to, but he also adds his own personal twist to his delivery. His message is relatable to anyone who is in or has gone through high school, but he adds in some humorous lines to put everyone’s personal experience on the same level. He’s confident in his past, encouraging you to be confident in yours.”
So that’s right. You don’t have to be the high school quarterback to be “sexy”. Watsky’s sexy is slam poetry. Sorry guys – passing a romantic love poem to your crush in class is not going to cut it anymore. It’s not about the words on the page this time – it’s about your delivery. And the more confidence you bring to the table, the more Fresh Prince reruns you get to watch with your girl (fireside, I might add). So be proud to “throw those V’s in the air” – it might just get you the girl, and if that doesn’t work out it might just make you famous.