At some point recently, somewhere on the internet, I read an interview with Earl Sweatshirt in which the young MC claimed he and his peers were highly influenced by MF Doom and that artist’s monotone flow and gritty-yet-soulful beats. The emergence of more young rappers like Joey Bada$$ proved that that’s most likely true. It might just be because blogs exist now, but it seems as if the kids that grew up listening to what used to be considered alt-rap are sneaking their way into the mainstream with a similar style. Of course, what does the mainstream even mean anymore?
A few days ago, Passion of the Weiss pointed to a song called “Phantom” by Chester Watson (note: this may be the same blog where I read that aforementioned Earl interview). The song is the opening track to the rapper’s mixtape of the same name. And like Earl when he debuted, Chester’s a precocious 15.
Unlike Earl, Chester doesn’t have a potty mouth posse to back him up (although he kinda does… considering he’s (surprise! part of an 11-man crew that includes skaters and artists)). But it’s strange to think that we followed Earl on the journey from his puke-riddled kitchen to Samoa and back, where he re-emerged with a post-pubescent voice and an evolved, possibly fully-formed style. Now we’ve got Chester Watson, who’s already rapping stonefaced and mellowed-out. He’s a bit more youthful and energetic in his other videos, though, so we’ll see where he’s heading. Check out the “Phantom” video below.