Western Massachusetts hip-hop artist Dr. Westchesterson is the kind of musician who brings the party with him wherever he performs.
His peculiar take on the style is infectious and engaging. He also exudes an individualistic swagger both on stage and off. With glasses, a beard and often some headwear and a pipe, he’s amassed a sizable following online, both in his backyard and beyond.
He’ll be bringing this experience and more to the Revival Brewing Company at 505 Atwood Ave. in Cranston on Sept. 14. Ahead of the show, we had a chat about a main influence of his, cannabis advocacy, putting out viral music videos and what he has in store for the coming months.
ROB DUGUAY: Your style of hip-hop has a notable Beastie Boys influence, while there's also some nerdcore stylings reminiscent of MC Chris and MC Frontalot. What made you want to get into this kind of music?
DR. WESTCHESTERSON: When I first heard Beastie Boys' “Licensed to Ill,” my life changed forever. My life was all about hip-hop from that moment on, the influence is definitely there and unmistakable. I actually met Mike D a few summers ago on Block Island and I hipped him to my game, so that dude’s woke. I don’t know much about nerdcore, but let me tell you, brother, I ain’t no nerdcore.
I may be the most famous rapper in Western Massachusetts, but I ain’t stopping there. I’ll take over the world if the apocalypse don’t hit first … I channel that Bob Marley vibe and get on the good foot like A Tribe Called Quest did. Tribe is also my second biggest influence. I dwell in the zone of positivity and enlightenment just like my man Q-Tip.
RD: Who created your logo of your face with the shades and bandana?
DW: I personally designed and created my logo.
RD: You’ve been an activist for medical cannabis since the 1990s. Since then, the cause has grown so much that states are even legalizing it completely. How do you feel about the movement’s growth over the past 25 years?
DW: I’m pleased with where we’re headed in regards to the legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis. I mean, let's face it – if you don’t know by now that the demonization of weed in the early part of the 20th century was nothing more than an attempt by the establishment to try and maintain control over African-Americans, you must be living under a rock.
RD: You have a bunch of music videos out, including “413,” which includes many images of Western Massachusetts. Who came up with the idea for the video and how long did it take to travel and get all the images?
DW: The “413” music video was my concept. I enlisted the help of a good friend of mine and talented Providence-based photographer and videographer named Trevor Holden. We shot all of the footage guerilla-style in two days. A week later we edited the video together in about four hours. I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted it composed.
Trevor and I sat down and cut the thing together pretty quickly. I dropped it on YouTube on the morning of my birthday, which is April 20, in 2012. I shared it a little bit on Facebook, then jumped in the car to visit a friend of mine near Boston. Later that afternoon when I got to his house, I showed him the video and it had already racked up close to 20,000 views. It seemed to stall out there before I went to bed for the night, and when I woke up it had almost one hundred thousand views.
Then my phone and email started blowing up with local radio and television stations all wanting a piece of me. I did what any hot MC worth his salt does and worked the outlets like a champ.
RD: What’s next for you after the show at Revival on Sept. 14?
DW: I've got a few other shows lined up, including an appearance at Rock 102 Springfield’s live variety show where I’m sharing the bill with Jackie The Jokeman from the old Howard Stern show. That should be lit. Then it’s back into the studio … I got a bunch of new studio gear I’m stoked on, so I’m going to do what I do and see what happens.
To learn more about Dr. Westchesterson, find him on Facebook or visit drwestchesterson.com.