Since he was a little kid growing up in Houston, Texas Lil’ Flip (real name Wesley Weston, Jr.) has always known he was destined for greatness. Mediocrity wouldn’t do; he would have to do something outstanding. At 12-years-old, he was coming from church when he passed his neighborhood record store, Stick Horse Records and Tapes. The Wu-Tang Clan just happened to be handing out demos while promoting the 1993 single “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man” and the young Flip was lucky enough to meet them. Little did he know, his life would soon come full circle.
“I put a lot of people on to them,” Flip says. “What’s crazy is six years later, I signed with Sony [Records] and ended up being label mates with them. We went on tour together and while in Amsterdam, we recorded a song for the Blade Trinity soundtrack, RZA and me. If you put yourself in the position of doing great things, you will.”
In July 2000, Flip released his debut album The Leprechaun, which caught the attention of DJ Screw, who eventually added the rapper into his rap group, the Screwed Up Click. He was always the youngest of the crew so the word ‘lil’ just seemed to fit. Always the young entrepreneur, the name ‘Flip’ was given to him thanks to his side hustle.
“I used to buy two pairs of new Air Jordans, one of each color, like three to four months early,” he recalls. “I would wear them for a couple of weeks, make everybody jealous and then flip them [laughs].”
Flip had done this type of thing before. At 8-years-old, he started cutting yards with some older gentlemen. After realizing he could do it on his own, he bought a lawn mower and soon had the same guys he was working for working for him. It’s clear he had values growing up and a solid work ethic in place before he reached double digits. Despite some of his braggadocio type lyrics, he knows the difference between his stage persona and the real Wesley Weston.
“I’ve been doing music since I was a kid,” he says. “I was taught from the jump to never forget who you are. My real name is Wesley and Lil’ Flip is my stage name. Sometimes artists get caught up thinking they’re the stage name and they’re not the real person.”
The 34-year-old Flip felt so passionate about sharing the hard-won wisdom he’s learned along the way, he wrote a book, in addition to putting out his eighth studio album, El Jefe. The book titled Don’t Let the Music Industry Fool You, illustrates the surprisingly insightful outlook he has on the world and his role in the music business.
“I would tell young rappers to keep on grinding and having fun,” he says. “My main message in the book is to watch how you treat people. The janitor at the radio station could one day be the program director and if you mistreated him, guess who’s music isn’t getting played? Treating people the right way gives you longevity and helps you sleep peacefully at night.”
With his Southern hospitality intact, Flip is on the road in support of El Jefe. The fans are reportedly eating it up and he couldn’t be more proud of the end result. All of the successes he’s experienced, he believes, are a direct result of a positive mindset.
“Since I was young, I always had a gift where I could kind of predict things,” he says. “The first big record I did was given to me on wax. I spray painted it gold and hung it on the wall, and said one day I’m going to put a real gold plaque up. A year and a half later, I put a real one up. Talk about manifest destiny.”
Lil’ Flip with Special Guests, November 7, at Moxi Theater, 8 p.m. Tickets are $15/ADV and $20/DOS. Visit www.moxitheater.com for more information.
**Stop by Replicaas One Year Anniversary Party: Autograph Signing • 5 p.m.-7 p.m., at Replicaas, 1646 8th Ave., Greeley.