In a 2013 LA Weekly feature on the flurry of teenage rappers transforming hip-hop using no promotional machinery grander than their own Internet connections, writer Jeff Weiss took a particular interest in one MC: “The most gifted of them all might be Chester Watson, a 16-year-old phenom from St. Louis, who describes himself on Facebook as a ‘producer, playwright and rapper.'” Watson recorded his first mixtape at age 14, after abandoning an intense three-year study of ballet. Now 19, he’s signed to POW Recordings, a new LA hip-hop label that grew out of Passion of the Weiss, the excellent long-running music site run by Jeff Weiss.
On Monday, POW dropped Spring Mirage, a collaborative EP that Watson recorded with Florida rapper Kent Loon. On the song that’s most tenaciously caught my ear, “I Get It,” Watson’s monotone rasp anchors a glass-armonica synth melody, and the tune lights up halfway through when his voice almost turns into a growl. On Thursday, May 26, Watson headlines Schubas with Milwaukee rapper WebsterX. There are a ton of great shows that night (in fact, we’ve written about a few of them), and Watson’s ranks high on the list.