Rapper Matt ‘Spek’ Watson says go out and make the world you want to live in

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Our biweekly City Superheroes column highlights the powerful figures walking among us — with the help of a (usually local) illustrator. This week’s pairing: rapper, producer and internet influencer Matt ‘Spek’ Watson and visual artist Rory Smith.

Moniker: Spekulation

Given Name: Matt Watson

Other Aliases: Spek, The Bitter Barista

Superpowers: Telekinesis, the ability to tap into the accumulated energy of the world

First Appearance: June 2007 at “The Hang,” a regular night of music formerly at Seattle’s Lo Fi organized by the band, The Teaching

Local Haunts: The Station, The Taco Truck in the Valero gas station on Beacon Ave., Beacon Ave. Sandwiches

Archenemies: Past and future versions of himself, condescending customers, Ron Smith and Jeff Bezos

Even Heroes Have Heroes: His parents (Debbie and Mark), wife (Ashley Ball), Gabriel Teodros, Evan Flory-Barnes, Khingz, Michele Khazak, Nate Omdal

What Small Object Holds Great Meaning: “My sampler (the Maschine). It’s what I channel all my sounds through, both in and out. It’s the lens through which I see the world.”

Crosscut archive image.Origin Story: Born in Boston, Mass., Spek lived in Chicago at an early age and then moved to Princeton, N.J., where his father was a teacher of economics. He attended LaSalle and Lehigh University, where he studied Philosophy and Religion. He later moved to Seattle at the age of 22, some ten years ago, where he started incorporating sounds from the local music scene into his own records. Around that same time he started working as a barista in Ravenna at a café where he met his wife.

During his early performances, the vibrations of his mind started to shake free and move into the world. Through these vibrations, Spek has the ability to move objects telekinetically and to read and interpret the energy of the world around him.

A few years ago, Spek started tweeting about the difficulties and injustices of the food service industry under the moniker of The Bitter Barista. It was a thought experiment meant to be humorous but many people took it very seriously and soon after, Spek lost his job. Since then, he’s published a book with many of the tweets, landed a job at the Station in Beacon Hill, and continues to work in music (perhaps most notably his Marshawn Lynch remixes that have received hundreds of thousands of plays).

His Philosophy: “Go out and make the world that you want to live in, as best you can. If you want to change something in the world go out and do it. It’s not going to happen over night, but that’s the only way you’re going to do it.”

What’s Next: Opening for Blackalicious at Neumos Sept. 27 with a 7-piece band and “hella guests”

About the Illustrator: Rory Smith studied animation at the School of Visual Arts. Since graduating in 2006, he has worked as an animator, illustrator and cake decorator. He currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he focuses on comic book illustration.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti is the co-founder and Managing Editor of The Monarch Review. He plays in the band, The Great Um, and works at The Pub at Third Place.