As with many kids, Wes Period had his eyes set on playing pro sports–basketball, in particular. Even as he played for his middle school team, his interest in music gradually began to surpass his hoop dreams. Period started dabbling with beats and bought a microphone, causing an internal schism that eventually reached its boiling point when he was a sophomore in high school.
"My first show with my high school band was on the same day as the first preseason basketball game of the year," the La Habra native recalls. "I left the game at halftime to go to my show. I never went back to basketball after that."
The 24-year-old is the product of a mixed-race marriage. During his formative musical years, he was introduced to a variety of music from his parents, including traditional rock bands such as Elton John and Led Zeppelin and such soul favorites as Luther Vandross and Curtis Mayfield. His older half-brothers chipped in by playing him music from rap's golden age such as Notorious B.I.G., Ma$e and 2Pac.
After ditching his team, Period says, he found his passion and calling. Period used those early eclectic tastes when fronting that pop/punk band, Close But Not Quite. They played places such as the Chain Reaction, with its hardcore scene. Period's distinctive raps over the punk melodies helped the group find a moderate degree of success. After a few years, Period decided he wanted to pursue a solo career in hip-hop.
"A lot of today's hip-hop is breaking the norm of what traditional hip-hop stereotypically is," he says. "I can understand how it sounds like the future, but at one point, it was the punkest shit that could be talking about suburban shit and your feelings. When we were coming up, it wasn't normal to do that."
Over the past two months, Period's career has finally started to move forward exponentially. His latest song, "Champagne Champion," which was released by singles label Taste and Tone/Atlantic, has caught on with rap fans for its soulful, bubbly vibe and served as an early anthem for the rapper.
Despite the attention, he has remained grounded. Period continues to live with his mother in their mobile-home community in Brea. As a youth, he says, he was embarrassed by it, but now he wears it as a source of pride. "When I first moved back from Venice, I would have people drop me off by the 7-Eleven down the street," he says. "I wouldn't let people take me to my door. It was a crazy, humbling experience and I embarrassed myself to know that I'd let something so small bother me. At the end of the day, I should be proud of where I live; it's crazy because it's such a high-school thing to be embarrassed of."
He shot the video for "Highs and Lows" both at the trailer park where he lives and his old high school. It was important, he says, to start off his story with "something that was real." But his trajectory is moving forward quickly. Period was recently featured in the Marc Jacobs Sunglasses campaign, and he is excited for what the future holds.
"I'm the product of being lucky and growing up in a cool area," he says. "I'm finishing up my first album, Late Bloomer, and I'm really excited about showing the world what I'm about."