TED2012

Reggie Watts: Beats that defy boxes

Filmed:

Reggie Watts’ beats defy boxes. Unplug your logic board and watch as he blends poetry and crosses musical genres in this larger-than-life performance.

- Vocalist, beatboxer, comedian
Reggie Watts creates unpredictably brilliant performances on the spot using his voice, looping pedals and his giant brain. Full bio

[Non English]
00:16
... and that's one of the things that I enjoy most
00:52
about this convention.
00:55
It's not so much, as so little as to do with what everything is.
00:59
(Laughter)
01:06
But it is within our self-interest
01:10
to understand the topography of our lives
01:12
unto ourselves.
01:14
(Laughter)
01:16
The future states
01:21
that there is no time
01:23
other than the collapsation of that sensation
01:24
of the mirror of the memories in which we are living.
01:28
(Laughter)
01:31
Common knowledge,
01:34
but important nonetheless.
01:36
(Laughter)
01:38
As we face fear in these times,
01:40
and fear is all around us,
01:43
we also have anti-fear.
01:45
It's hard to imagine or measure.
01:48
The background radiation is simply too static
01:50
to be able to be seen under the normal spectral analysis.
01:54
But we feel as though there are times
01:57
when a lot of us -- you know what I'm say'n?
02:01
But -- you know what I'm say'n?
02:03
Cuz, like, as a hip hop thing, you know what I'm say'n,
02:05
TED be rock'n -- you know what I'm say'n.
02:07
Like so I wrote a song,
02:10
and I hope you guys dig it.
02:12
It's a song about people
02:14
and sasquatches --
02:16
(Laughter)
02:19
-- and other French science stuff.
02:22
That's French science.
02:24
Okay, here we go.
02:26
♫ I've been trying inside ♫
02:30
♫ I know that I'm in trouble by myself ♫
02:37
♫ But every time it gets me ♫
02:54
♫ [unclear] ♫
02:59
(Music)
03:08
♫ And I've been trying to be the one that you believe in ♫
03:38
♫ And you're the one that I want to be so saucy ♫
03:44
♫ And you're the one I want to [unclear], baby ♫
03:49
♫ And you can do anything ♫
03:54
♫ as long as you don't get hurt along the way back ♫
03:56
♫ If I survive, I'm gonna tell you what is wrong ♫
04:00
♫ Because if you were [unclear] ♫
04:04
♫ And I think that you're looking like a [unclear] ♫
04:10
♫ I give you what I want to be ♫
04:16
(Music)
04:21
And it's like, you could use as many of those things that you want.
04:36
(Applause)
04:40
And the computer models,
04:46
no matter how many that you have
04:47
and how many people that you use,
04:49
are never going to be able to arrive at the same conclusions.
04:50
Four years ago I worked with a few people at the Brookings Institute,
04:53
and I arrived at a conclusion.
04:58
(Laughter)
05:00
Tomorrow is another day.
05:07
(Laughter)
05:09
Not just any day,
05:11
but it is a day.
05:13
It will get here, there's no question.
05:15
And the important thing to remember
05:19
is that this simulation is a good one.
05:21
It's believable, it's tactile.
05:25
You can reach out -- things are solid.
05:28
You can move objects from one area to another.
05:30
You can feel your body.
05:32
You can say, "I'd like to go over to this location,"
05:34
and you can move this mass of molecules through the air
05:36
over to another location at will.
05:39
(Laughter)
05:42
That's something you live inside of every day.
05:45
Now with the allocation and the understanding of
05:50
the lack of understanding,
05:53
we enter into a new era of science
05:54
in which we feel nothing more
05:56
than so much so as to say
05:59
that those within themselves,
06:01
comporary or non-comporary,
06:04
will figuratively figure
06:06
into the folding of our non-understanding
06:08
and our partial understanding
06:12
to the networks of which we all draw our source
06:13
and conclusions from.
06:17
(Laughter)
06:18
So, as I say before the last piece,
06:20
feel not as though it is a sphere we live on,
06:24
rather an infinite plane which has the illusion
06:28
of leading yourself back to the point of origin.
06:32
(Laughter)
06:35
Once we understand that all the spheres in the sky
06:37
are just large infinite planes,
06:39
it will be plain to see. Ha Ha Ha.
06:40
This is my final piece.
06:45
And just remember
06:47
everything you are --
06:49
it's more important to realize
06:50
the negative space,
06:53
as music is only the division of space;
06:55
it is the space we are listening to divided as such,
06:59
which gives us the information
07:02
comparison to something other
07:04
that gives us the idea of what the idea that wants to be transmitted
07:05
wants to be.
07:08
So please, without further ado.
07:10
(Applause)
07:11
Thank you.
07:14
(Applause)
07:15
This is a fun one.
07:19
It goes like this.
07:21
(Music)
07:22
Okay, for the last piece I'd like to do,
07:48
this one goes very similar to this.
07:50
I hope you guys recognize it.
07:53
Here we go.
07:55
Okay, that still works. Okay, good.
08:00
All right, here we go.
08:02
(Laughter)
08:04
(Music)
08:07
Here we go.
08:19
(Music)
08:20
♫ Yeah, yo, yo, yo ♫
08:29
(Music)
08:32
Thank you. Enjoy the rest. Thank you.
09:20
(Applause)
09:22
Translated by Timothy Covell
Reviewed by Jenny Zurawell

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About the Speaker:

Reggie Watts - Vocalist, beatboxer, comedian
Reggie Watts creates unpredictably brilliant performances on the spot using his voice, looping pedals and his giant brain.

Why you should listen

The winner of TED's Full Spectrum auditions, Reggie Watts works on the edge of improv performance -- at a place where you can almost visibly see his brain moving, as he pulls spoken and musical snippets from the sonosphere and blends them into a stream-of-consciousness flow. On screen, Reggie has appeared on The Conan O’Brien Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s The Yes Men Save the World, Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues and PBS’ Electric Company. Last summer, he opened nightly on Conan O'Brien’s sold-out North American “Prohibited From Being Funny on Television” tour.