How Rapper Watsky’s Major YouTube Video Went Too Viral

/ Aug 22, 2014


If you know George Watsky, it’s very likely for his ability to “fast rap.” The rapper/spoken-word poet/YouTube personality has plenty of talents, but he took the time to tell Rhett & Link about his “almost too-good” online start with rapping on this week’s “Ear Biscuits.”

Originally titled “Pale Kid Raps Fast,” Watsky’s first viral video took off like he never imagined, reaching 10,000 views in a matter of 20 minutes and even drawing the attention of Ellen DeGeneres. “The Ellen DeGeneres” show asked Watsky to come on and showcase his fast rapping the day after the video’s initial post, by which time it had gained about 4 million hits.

What prompted to Watsky, who had harbored this among other skills for some time, to create his blowout, viral video? He asked himself, “If you were going to boil down what you are good at and put it into a 90-second video, what would that video look like?” In Watksy’s case, “Pale Kid Raps Fast” combined his sense of humor, his word play skills, and, of course, his ability to rap at high speeds.

In creating the video, Watsky did hope for a certain level of traction. He admittedly created a title that counts as easy “click bait,” and had another video of his “real stuff” at the ready to post after the viral hit, so that he wouldn’t disappear after its popularity came and dwindled. He planned for the question, “[Now that] we have people’s attention, how can I translate this into the career that I want?”

However, Watsky explained that his viral video worked almost too well. Right after it got big, he began to worry about the “stigma of being a gimmicky fast rapper.” As it turns out, he was right to worry. It took a year afterwards for Watsky to book any gigs at the clubs and venues where he wanted to perform, most likely because those in charge of booking the venues didn’t take him seriously enough.

Now, “Pale Kid Raps Fast” has the title “Watsky Raps Fast.” It’s also currently unlisted. Considering Watsky’s focus on authenticity, it’s no surprise that he’d rather have fans look to work more representative of himself and his artistic inclinations. For more on the real Watsky, listen to his interview on “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”

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