Wes Blanco. Photo: Oaks
When meeting someone, one of the key parts of the greeting is the handshake. Aside from making someone feel welcome with eye contact, body language, and facial expressions, the hands are a vital piece to confirming the first impression. When shaking the hands of Wes Blanco, you notice the words “Lost Soul” are artistically plastered on his knuckles. The words are more than a notion, and they’re not there just for display. In the midst of the past two years, Blanco has gone through a turbulent series of events that have molded his somewhat seamless life today. The makings of this man have come with a long journey and his story wouldn’t live up to the hype without a few bumps along the road for a soul who was once lost.
Coming from the depths of Southwest Houston, Blanco has seen and gone through a lot. The infamous SWAT — Southwest Alief Texas — is not your typical residential area to raise children, but he made the best out of his situation with a strong family foundation. One source of inspiration is his mother, who had a strong ear when it came to various genres of music. She’s responsible for introducing Blanco to the sounds of Etta James, Janis Joplin, BB King, Eric Clapton, and more. He emphasized that “she loves music with soul and some type of meaning to it.” Another interesting aspect that relates to Blanco’s musical background is the fact “Momma Blanco” also played the piano and the drums. This ties into the eccentric ear that he’s adapted over time and how his clever rhyme schemes are jointed with one another with each verse he delivers, saying he feels “The Underbelly of the Beat” rather than listening to the traditional foundation of any instrumental. His knack for listening and giving comes with the validity of truth and recognizing the reality of his life, which made his transition into rap easy when he linked up with the infamous Kream Clicc Collective
During his years in high school, he linked up with Maxo Kream and Lyndo Cartel — labeled as the cool kids in school and as the sneaker collective — Kream Clicc grew together in their primitive years, bringing Blanco along as well. Maxo being the group’s curator and lead man, he was the face of the brand when it came to rapping not too long after Blanco got his feet wet. While Blanco was in the process of recording his first song, he called Maxo to let him know about his new venture, who then responded with “Stay in Yo Lane Bro.” Shortly after that, the song released and received a huge stream of feedback via Facebook. It wasn’t long until Maxo called Blanco back and realized the track was another vital piece of the puzzle that would help build the foundation of Kream Clicc. Along with making music, they were also the first collective in the city to display the massive embedded sneaker culture, doing it in a way where they were more like a militia than just a group of friends wearing sneakers. As the years went on, the Clicc became more than a coalition of kids wearing sneakers, leading into gang affiliations and them being one of the most feared forces in the city of Houston. Between the bloodshed and the lives lost among the gang, Kream Clicc Gang became urban legends for Houstonians, which in a sense propelled Blanco to the position of gaining the respect for his efforts in the studio and his “stomped down” respect in the streets.
Over the next few years, the careers of Maxo Kream and Lyndo Cartel were starting to take off when Maxo released his projects Retro Card and QuiccStrikes and Lyndo unleashed his viral video, “Lyndo Suave” from his acclaimed project, Hypebeast. The Kream Clicc army were lining up their soldiers and Blanco was next in line making guest features on “High Memories” and doing the chorus on Maxo Kream’s “Invisible Tops” featuring Doughbeezy, along with having some loose singles of his own. The stars were aligning for his career, but that was around the same time that trouble came into the picture. Blanco was arrested for a human trafficking charge that had him locked him up for a year. This was a year that Blanco lost his freedom, a year where he was close to the light but wasn’t ready, and most importantly a year where he remolded his mind, sound, and attitude towards the modern representation of forming from Whiteboy Wes into Wes Blanco.
Blanco’s incarceration set him back from his peers when it came to releasing music. Although he was behind bars at the time, that didn’t stop him from dropping his first full-length project, Wes Be Blanco. He credits this release to the support from his mother and Lyndo Cartel. He remembers speaking to his mom, having her “organize and explicitly tell her what tracks to use, what picture to use for the cover, how many tracks on the tape, etc.” He adds that “they were the main ones who helped push out the sound for my first project.” This project would lay the foundation and establish the footwork for the character that Blanco would become.
After his release from jail, his perspective on life changed. “I took a lot of things for granted that I had at my disposal, and it was a lot of things that were happening,” he says. “From the come and go ass people, the fast money, the drugs, the hoes, I just didn’t give a fuck about shit, so when I sit down and had some time to think, I finally realized my family and my close friends were still there for me. I truly love them for that.” Since then, Blanco has felt he had to take advantage of the opportunity that was placed in front of him — his music — and the city has taken notice to his passion he’s put into his work. From one of his loose singles getting picked up by Complex‘s Pigeons and Planes not long after coming home and performing in front of packed crowds in Houston to recruiting Curren$y on one of his projects, Blanco has made his imprint on the city’s scene. It’s only a matter of time where he will reach his ceiling and have to expand beyond the Texas borders.
When I asked Blanco are some of his goals for his legacy, he responded: “Doing more shows, making more fans, making more money, having more fun, and making better music. I plan to continue to progress.” As the Southwest creative scene continues to improve its infrastructure with the likes of Maxo Kream and Kream Clicc, Bird Medina, NBT Ant, King Trap, Mickie Films and more, so does the artistry of Wes Blanco. A fellow Houstonian who was once a “Lost Soul” with a storied past he’s chronicled in his raps to enhance a bright future, one that’s so hopeful that the “Grease God” may need some shades just to see it. All in all, his day is coming and just make you sure you have your ticket to the “Grease Train” before it leaves its station.