Every neighborhood deserves to be heard. Hotboy Wes gives the streets a voice. The Waco, TX rapper emerges from the trials and tribulations of a rough neighborhood and an even rougher upbringing with a triumphant true story told through elite wordplay, lyrical firepower, and hard-hitting hooks. Inking a deal with Gucci Mane and amassing millions of views and streams, he maximizes the power of his voice on a series of singles, claiming his spot on The New 1017/Atlantic Records roster.
"The tongue is powerful," he observes. "I want to educate the world about what's really going on in these streets. My words are meant to be street awareness. This is how we survive."
Hotboy Wes hails from "the hardest hood in Waco." With dad behind bars for almost 12 years and mom and grandma in the streets, he primarily stayed with his aunt during his formative years. Unfortunately, his aunt caught a case and landed in a penitentiary, leaving him alone with his mother. "That's when shit became really turbulent and rocky for me," he admits. "My mom ended up hooked on that dope. I was always in trouble, but I started rapping. I had it in my heart I was going to be a rapper, for real."
So, he studied "the greatest albums in hip-hop." He religiously listened to Ms. Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Nas's Illmatic, and OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in addition to pulling inspiration from Hot Boys, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Soulja Slim, and B.G. He shuffled in and out of juvenile detention centers, yet he took every opportunity possible to freestyle on social media. Building an audience, his freestyles regularly cracked 100K views.
Following a bid in jail, Hotboy Wes came home to an invitation from Trapboy Freddy to record in Dallas. Working out of a professional studio for the first time, he cooked up the Never Had Shit mixtape in 2019. The video for "I Can't" quickly eclipsed half-a-million views and increased his buzz throughout the industry. One day, he sent Gucci Mane a direct message on Instagram and said, "I'm hard. You've got to sign me."
Not long after, the rap icon and The New 1017 founder FaceTimed him...
"When Wop told me he was going to sign me, I decided to put my gun and dope away," he says. "On God, I had it on me, but I said, ‘Fuck that shit'. I started taking this seriously and rapping even harder. We came from the same background. I had read his book while I was in jail, and it made me fuck with him even more. Wop gave me so much advice. He told me, ‘Wait your turn. If you work hard, it's going to happen'."
It's happening now. He joined forces with Gucci Mane on the single "My Lil Dance." Right out of the gate, it trended at #13 on YouTube Music and raked in 1 million-plus views first week. Over ominous piano-laden production, Hotboy Wes tears apart caustic and confessional verses with a gruff flow as he declares, "I came up from nothin', I'm straight out the gutter," before locking into an instantly irresistible hook.
"As soon as I heard the beat, I was doing a little dance," he laughs. "When I'm creating music, there's so much weighing on my mind, so I go out and vibe around. Everything inspires me. I rap about the trenches a lot, but this is a fun record."
In the end, Hotboy Wes is giving the streets the voice it needs now.
"Sometimes, I've got to relive my past and go somewhere I don't really want to go," he leaves off. "Other times, it's not as dark; it's meant to be a good time. I'm a big believer in manifestation. Whatever you speak into existence in the universe is what you're going to get out of it. I said I was going to be rapper. That's what I'm doing."