“I couldn’t be happier,” says an exuberant Wes Period over the phone from his Korea Town, Los Angeles home base. The fast rising rap-pop star hybrid has every reason to be, as he’s been in full blown ascent mode following a whirlwind year that saw him handpicked to be a face for French luxe-brand Faith Connexion alongside Vic Mensa and Tommy Genesis, and self-release his debut LP Late Bloomer, a striking cinematic, desert-set tour de force, this January.
The fast rising talent grew up in Orange County and spent his youth rapping at local punk shows. “I was the only rapper and only black kid there most of the time,” he says, though he always found a way to appreciate standing out. “My fashion is the music that I’m into and the lifestyle that I live,” he adds, citing his SoCal-influenced personal style as a cross between “Prince, Sid Vicious, and Travis Barker,” he says with a laugh.
Living in his studio at one point, he first connected with fellow rising artists like Ye Ali and Tommy Genesis via an ad on Craigslist, with Genesis serving as he’s introduction to the fashion brand Faith Connexion. “Tommy was a big part of letting them know who I was,” he recalls. “It’s just been one big blessing and it’s just been about putting my best foot forward and being that positive person that people want to help.”
That combination of personal drive and genuine positivity also helped Wes get discovered earlier this year, when an artist pal of his — Palma Wright (aka Hateboy) — shared a clip of his set at Delicious Pizza in Adam’s District, South Los Angeles via Instagram Stories. The short snippet caught the attention of her good friend Justin Tranter – songwriter to stars like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber.
“It was an earth day art show, and I was like ‘f–k man do I really want to be playing this?’ But then I found out Palma was coming, and it actually made me nervous,” he recalls of the April 22 show. “That tells you where I was then. I’ve been grinding for years and years and years. I woke up at like 9:30 the next morning to [Palma] frantically calling me. She’s like ‘hey my friend Justin saw my Instagram story, he’s written for Bieber and Selena and all these people, he wants to meet you right now, he needs to get in contact with you right now.’ I was just like what?!”
The hustle has indeed more than paid off for the star, who has inked both a management company – Ryan Chisholm and Tom Gates of Nettwerk – and a publishing deal – with Katie Vinten, vp of A&R at Warner Chappell – since our interview last month. Despite the massive A-list connection, he was initially weary of the co-sign. “Blowing up in LA was kind of cool but you always have to approach things cautiously,” he explains. “I approached it not really expecting much, but as soon as me and Justin sat down at dinner, it was just like ‘yo this dude is the biggest songwriter in the world right now, and he’s affirming all of the things that I thought were true about myself.’ He just wanted to help and be a part of it.”
Wes had already written his follow-up single, the glorious “Trap Star,” when the two first connected, so Tranter focused on ensuring his voice and vision were reaching maximum impact. “He’s just been there to guide me and give me advice,” he says. “He’s my second mom (laughs).” The track saw its official release in August, followed by the official video, styled as a team-effort led by Wright. “Everyone chipped in, we just all love clothes, we mainly get all of our shit from thrift stores and vintage sales and stuff like that, so when I said we’re doing the video for ‘Trap Star,’ everyone showed up and their contribution was a car full of clothes,” he says.
Wes followed up the buzzy single with another new gem “Big Bag,” which debuted officially via Spotify’s New Music Friday, and serves as the theme song to Big Baller Brands new Facebook series “Ball In The Family.”
While the artist’s main creative focus is music (“I’m recording every day,” he says of his plentiful future output), he could easily double as a stylist, with an eye as ace as they come for finding one-of-a-kind, standout pieces. “I don’t know a lot about fashion, I just know style,” he says modestly. “I see things and I like it. I feel like I’m supposed to feel like I should be super sophisticated right now for this article.”
Below, Wes digs into his killer closet to share a few of his most beloved local fashion finds and go-to style essentials.
“I just did a publishing deal, and I’m about to finish one – the woman I signed with [vp or A&R at Warner Chappell] Katie Vinten – said in her own words that these are ‘all the rage w/ the soccer moms in Playa Vista.’ It’s a thing called a bandolier, like a holster for your phone. It’s the dopest thing ever bro – kind of like a leather purse strap but instead of a purse being on the end it’s a phone case, so you’re wearing your phone as a purse. It’s one of the tightest thing I own – it’s around my neck right now as I’m talking to you.”
“I got them at Slow on Melrose Avenue, this vintage spot that I really like – [I’ve been] going there for years and years and years, and when I was getting ready to shoot the album cover for Late Bloomer, I knew I wanted to do it in the desert, do this spaghetti western inspired thing, so I wanted to get some cowboy boots, and those just turned into my favorite thing in the world, basically when I wear tennis shoes now I feel weird. So I got my brown cowboy boots that are now falling apart and I’m going to have to replace them soon, because they’re my every day joint, my every day wear.
“On Western Ave., there’s a shop that has these cool off-brand things that are really well made, but it’s insane and I got this cool Korean throw jacket that’s super tight – it’s red and has these cool doilies and details. I don’t even know what you call these things around it. The thing with me man is I don’t know a lot about fashion, I just know style. I see things and I like it.”