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Mike Squires

While the beats behind California-based rapper Watsky's music are certainly worth nodding along to, it's the lyrics that put his tracks over the top. Songs like "Welcome to the Family," which opens the 2019 album, COMPLAINT (self-released), juxtapose the poetic and the pedestrian, one moment drawing an analogy between the body and a crowded theater ("When I don't keep my lids closed as the director flicks his wrist / The stagehand in the wing has got a silver chain he grips / And when he lifts it opens up the velvet curtains of my lips") and the next dropping the less-than-eloquent metaphor, "But I think every family is a butterfly / You know, pretty from afar, pretty gross up close." There's plenty of wit to go around on COMPLAINT, which might be what earned it top marks from Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who shared the album on Twitter along with a bevy of flame emojis.

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