Chester Watson releases his new album fish don’t climb trees. Having teased the tone of his full-length with previously-released singles “eyes closed” and the title track “fish don’t climb trees,” the album is released in full via POW Recordings alongside a self-directed video for standout track “Spirits.”

Speaking on “Spirits” and his intention behind the visual, Chester says “I wanted this video to be aesthetically pleasing and refreshing to see. I’m still figuring out my directorial style, but I really have always loved landscape artwork – specifically Dali’s surrealist version of it. I wanted to make this video feel airy, natural, spacious and vast, but not so much so to where it took anyone away from the song.

The song really just feels like a beacon of light and hope at the end of a tunnel. I’m very honest in this one, I talk about my conversations with god and the cosmos, and how at times my voice trembles when speaking to them and being open, even in the privacy of my own company. this can be the very melancholic but euphoric feeling and I wanted to try and convey that visually.” 

Across the album’s 11 tracks, fish don’t climb trees solidifies Watson’s place as a master craftsman of immersive albums rife with personal reflections and a signature sonic palette that’s as eerie and hair-raising as it is complex.The 26-year-old St. Louis born artist puts himself at the forefront of this new album, reflecting on the adversity he’s had to overcome to reach this point, and the personal growth that’s emerged as a result.

fish don’t climb trees takes its name from the alleged Einstein quote but imbues Chester’s own message to heed to his own standards and avoid the influences of misguided characterizations or seemingly innocent judgments. “As a Black person, we’re always judged on criteria that are literally meaningless,” Chester says. With fish don’t climb trees, he’s committed to only one set of standards: his own.

In the last half-decade, Watson has expanded his repertoire both laterally and vertically, resulting in one of the most quietly rewarding catalogs in hip-hop. He released Project 0, the apex predator version of his style, which he had been tinkering with since his breakthrough a decade ago with the heady 10-million-plus streaming “Phantom.” A Japanese Horror Film, the full-length album from 2020, sounds like a small team of assassins being trained in the art of hypnosis, and the following year’s glitchy, percussive EP 1997.

Listen to fish don’t climb trees and watch the video for “Spirits” above, and stay tuned for more from Chester Watson coming soon.

Chester Watson
fish don’t climb trees
June 30th, 2023
POW Recordings

1. fish don’t climb trees
2. east end
3. eyes closed
4. tourniquet
5. money love
6. bora bora
7. daze
8. grey theory
9. i feel alive
10 spirits
11. mirrors


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