When I first heard DC rapper Chaz French last summer on "Came Down," I was immediately impressed with the way he bluntly laid out stark facts about his personal history while still managing to make a song that was fun and exciting. With "Watcha Know," the second single off of last fall's Happy Belated mixtape, he pushes that style even further, examining his relationships with his parents and taking a thoughtful look at why people make bad decisions while also throwing out lines about how he can't wait to be rich when his friends get home from jail. If that sounds boring and a little self-serious, don't worry. In Chaz's hands—and over producer Super Miles's devastatingly huge bassline—it's somehow still cause to turn up, and the video brings along some friends to drive that point home. You might catch a bit of a Drake vibe, too, between those confessional lyrics and the wistful hook over a chilly, mostly minimal beat that could sit comfortably on So Far Gone or Thank Me Later.
Still, this song and video are most interesting when they go dark. There are shots of Chaz preaching at a funeral and in a rowboat in a red-tinted lake with a guide whose presence seems ominous. I assume the boat is some classic Stygian imagery, and I am all the way here for it. More rap videos need allusions to Greek mythology. But all of it might seem hokey if not for lyrics like this moment, where Chaz starts talking about his absentee dad: "But he taught me how to po' up / how not to get my diploma / how to disown a woman and live off being dishonest / how to put on a condom and take care of your baby mamas / how to bottle your problems / what a role model he was." I mean… holy shit. Watch the video, directed by Martin Amini, below.
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