Every Tuesday night from 10pm to midnight, you can catch Big Homie Wes playing rap and holding court on WJSC 90.7 FM. This cat has a voice for radio, no question, but he’s a got a lot going on outside of that control booth, too: emcee, producer, and a constant collaborator who’s been leaving his mark on the scene. I caught up with him to talk about his own work, running the FM airwaves, and the growing Lamoille County hip hop scene.
VTHH: Your catalog so far has one of the craziest quality control curves I've ever heard; your product has improved a lot in the past 12 months. Where were you learning to do that? Was it mostly self-taught?
Big Homie Wes: Self taught, but within the past year I’ve done more work with other Vermont hip-hop artists than ever before. Escaping from solely working on my own music has given me a lot of fresh ideas and some irreplaceable engineering/mixing experience.
I’ve also spent a fair amount of time listening to my favorite albums and comparing them to my own music which has been heartbreaking at times, but helps me steer my sound towards higher quality mixes.
VTHH: You seem kinda born for the role of A&R / executive producer. Do you see your role as developing everyone in the #STILTZgang circle?
Big Homie Wes: In one way or another, definitely. I’ve had my hands on tracks both on Faded Vision from the homie Faded Flow that dropped last year, and The Missing Peace by DZY this year. “Sauce on Deck” just dropped this week, that’s a track featuring Colby STILTZ I orchestrated, which is only the tip of the iceberg.
My influence goes further than just #STILTZgang though, I really try to work with every artist that comes to my studio with the intention of creating the best music possible.
VTHH: What do you have cooking for solo material right now?
Big Homie Wes: This past month or so I’ve been working on honing in final mixes on a handful of songs that I’ve been working on since well before Presidential.
I have a vision for a full length project, but I want it to be a big step so I’m planning carefully.
VTHH: Now that you're a DJ and tastemaker, what advice do you have for artists thirsty to get a spin? What do you look for in a single?
Big Homie Wes: I’ve had people send me a lot of awesome tracks so far, what I’ve really been looking for though is good mixes with dope lyrical content.
It has to fit in the mix with classic hip-hop records we all know, and new rap songs. I’m open-minded though, and I’m all about giving local emcees exposure.
VTHH: Was radio important to your musical upbringing?
Big Homie Wes: Pandora Radio, yes. AM/FM, not so much. Any streaming service I’ve used has been more of a playlist but they’ve introduced me to a lot of the music I listen to or have even sampled.
My motivation to become a radio DJ is more due to my passion for music, hip-hop/rap specifically, plus using the airwaves as a platform to promote the local scene.
VTHH: The Lamoille County hip hop scene has been making real noise this year -- what do you think is driving that success?
Big Homie Wes: I believe a huge part of that success is artists focusing more heavily on branding. From social media presence, to networking with other artists outside of the area in turn building larger fan bases.
I’m excited to be bringing live hip-hop to Moogs on December 30th, because it’ll create an outlet for the scene here. Often artists in the Lamoille area travel out of state or to Burlington to perform, so it’ll be nice to have a local venue to collaborate with.
In 2019 my goal is to build relationships with more venue owners in the area to continue the momentum.
VTHH: What do you think the Mo-Vegas scene needs next in order to grow?
Big Homie Wes: Consistent hip-hop shows would be the big one on my mind. A local compilation mixtape series featuring artists from the area would be really cool to see, and could spotlight artists who otherwise aren’t plug’d in.
You can stream WJSC 90.7 FM right here. Enjoy.