You don’t have to like Wacotron, but you will respect his hustle. On a national scale, practically no rappers have risen to prominence by way of Waco, Texas. When it comes to the storied history of The Long Star State and rap, DJ Screw, Travis Scott, Bun B, Pimp C and Grammy-winning acts like Megan Thee Stallion are the talk of the town, regionally speaking. For Waco, located along the Brazos river and I-35 – sandwiched between Dallas and Austin – there’s not one distinguishable voice of reason that truly reflects what the city represents, but Wacotron is ready to change this narrative.
Coming from a place of limited opportunity where you either have hoop dreams or aspirations of becoming a scholar, Wacotron was born with the city’s problems on his back. It’s pretty much black or white with him, you gotta get it how you live – or as he states, “swim or drown.” Truthfully speaking, life isn’t always fair, but in Wacotron’s case it’s consistent enough for him to overcome any obstacle thrown his way: the good, the bad and the unforeseeable.
The onset of COVID-19 has drastically altered the natural flow of business around the world, especially in the music industry. With touring and live performances [an important source of revenue for indie artists] coming to a sudden pause, many musicians were forced to think beyond the pen and pad and become one with their inner hustler. For Wacotron, one year of quarantine just amplified his focus to new heights, as proven by the string of singles released this year [“Cut Me Up”, “Gram And A Hoodie“, “Toothpaste” and more].
Wacotron’s music is seemingly forthright and easy to be understood. His words are true to life. He spares no details with voicing the streets’ gospel over roaring 808s, usually produced by Southside [808 Mafia]. From sending warning shots towards the opposition mid-song, to balancing fatherhood and the stereotypical rapper lifestyle, Wacotron has been through hell and back while in pursuit of his dreams. Check out our full conversation below, lightly edited for clarity and context.
Oh, and his debut project SMOKIN’ TEXAS drops this month [4/20].
Talk to me about life in Waco, TX — what was it like growing up?
It’s really like any hood, swim or drown. You gon’ either play ball and make it out this bitch or go be a doctor. It ain’t too many opportunities. It is now because it’s growing, but it wasn’t back then – it was just, you had to get it how you live, right then and there on the spot. You couldn’t even wait, or the next muhfucka might hit ya lick.
What does staying down until you come up mean to you?
Whatever you go through, it don’t matter what obstacles come towards you, whatever the Lord throw at you – you gotta take it to the chin, you gotta keep rolling. You never know when it’s gon’ get good. You just gotta keep going until everything fall in place.
When you hear the phrase “brotherhood,” what comes to mind?
If you ain’t spend the night at my mama house when we was young, Ion’t know you mane and you can’t come around now. If I ain’t been knowing ya Ion’t need to know you now. That’s the first thing that come to mind. Just gon’ be in the way. You ain’t come up wit us.
Was a career in rap always the plan or were you just working your move and seeing what could happen?
It’s crazy ‘cause that ain’t never been the way, but everyone around me that know me be like, “Where was that at? When you start doing that?” I always liked to freestyle but I ain’t never took it serious. But when I found out I could do a lil somethin’ wit it, I just stayed down wit it and kept doing it. I got better and better and I just mastered that shit.
So if you weren’t rapping, what would you be doing?
I’d be locked up right now for tryna get a dollar man [laughs]. We gon’ swang a door, we gon’ break the hinges off that bitch.
Throughout your music, you make reference to cutting people off and battling trust issues. With this in mind, what prompted you to feel this way?
Different situations that go on. Especially when it’s situations in your own circle. Just not seeing eye to eye every time. If we a family, we a family, this ain’t no one man thing. That shit cause confrontation and fuck up the circle, so you gotta remove some people out the circle, or remove you from them – either or.
Do you have any regrets about removing access from certain people, after the fact?
I don’t regret nothing. You can’t live like that, you can’t live life with regrets. The best thing I could’ve did was remove all them people, remove all the fakes. Keep all the genuine love. Ain’t no use in keeping all the fake love around you, let ‘em be fake from a distance.
Personally, would you rather be loved or respected?
I’d rather be respected because I don’t need nan muhfucka thinking he can take something from me or belittle me on any type of level. I don’t give a damn if it’s a paperclip, I need my respect. My daughter loves me, my kids love me, so that’s good enough for me. As long as you respect me, we good. I’m the coolest person you’ll ever meet in life, I swear. Niggas gon’ respect me tho [laughs]. I’m grown, fuck that.
Does fake love tend to outweigh the real?
Oh yeah, it’s crazy. Real recognize real. Some love be genuine, but you can tell when it’s genuine. But fake love, I don’t show ‘em away because they probably a fan. I just embrace the fake love and show it right back because I need that stream out of ‘em.
How do you find that balance with pushing a pen and still being a father to your kids?
It’s hard but a nigga used to it. I been running in and out the house, I’ve always been on go. I told my girl she gon’ have to understand it, this my job now. She a couple years younger than me, so she don’t really get what’s going on [laughs]. She see it, but I don’t think this shit dawned on her yet, this shit forreal.
Have you experienced any challenges behind adjusting to this new lifestyle?
I ain’t used to getting all the attention and shit. I go out to the club and people wanna take 20 pictures. I’m tryna chill, I ain’t tryna take no pictures. But I ain’t trippin’, I’m gon’ embrace the love. I just ain’t really used to it yet. The way I was living before this, I ain’t want nobody to know my name or who I was. My other life, I ain’t want nobody to know about that. I can’t pump no gas, can’t stop at the store to buy no cigars.
Working with Southside is a crazy feat, especially considering his wildly successful run in music. Talk to me about the nature of your relationship.
They flew me out there [Los Angeles, CA], I linked up wit ‘em. When I went down there, it was all business, I was ready to work. I can’t pass this up. The first song I did was “Cut Me Up.” I met Moe [Moe Shalizi] first, he DM’d me. Matter fact, he threw Southside on the phone, he was like, “Here, someone wanna talk to you.” I was like damn, this Southside, this shit might be real. This was before it all went down. It took me a lil’ minute to get down there, but it’s been a blessing ever since then.
In terms of free game, has Southside provided you with any sound advice that you feel can be applied to everyday life, or just generally speaking?
Yeah, wit me going to the studio, I record a whole different way now. I like to just run the whole track or whatever, but he told me I gotta put some structure behind it and come wit the same energy. He got me right tho, got me looking at all that shit different. It’s crazy cuz I’d never listen to nobody when they try to tell me some shit like that. That shit just easy now. I can make a track wit my eyes closed.
Your storytelling dynamic as an artist seems strangely revealing. Where do you find the energy to get so personal in your raps?
I done been through it and I know I can’t play wit this. I finally got the ear of the world so I gotta let ’em hear everything I have to say and everything I been wanting to say. Every song come from the heart, it’s straight raw, all facts. Not a cap in Lids.
SMOKIN’ TEXAS — what inspired the title for your debut project?
Texas is just my own name for good weed. Like in Atlanta, they say gas, they called it Keisha at one minute. That’s my own name, my lingo. But on 4/20, it’s going live.
Long as that shit hittin’, Ion’t have no favorite strain [laughs]. If it’s that good OG, like some Biscotti or something, I’ma name it Texas for the day. 92 OG, that’s my favorite one – that’s all I was smoking down there [Los Angeles, CA].
Did you notice any cultural differences while you were in LA? I can imagine the West Coast aesthetic varies from the comfort of Southern hospitality.
They laugh at the way I talk all day. They be using the slang I be using now. You can definitely tell I ain’t from out there, by a couple words [laughs]. I was the only one out there smoking Swishers.
Bro, it’s 2021. We gotta get you some backwoods.
That’s what they was saying [laughs]. Man, do you know how many blunts I’m about to roll with these Swishers!?
Why Pick Six Records?
The timing had to be right, everything was closing in on me. I was at my lowest when they first contacted me. Ain’t no righter way. They chose me and I worked my ass off, but I ain’t done working yet, I’m still going. It had to be, wasn’t nothing good going on.