We interviewed W Paco Dena, 4-time 1st place winner on Beat of the Week. Read on to hear about where he's from, what motivates him, and what he's working on right now.
BOTW: Where are you from and how old are you?
WPD: Born and raised in Pasadena, California, city of the roses. I'm 22 years old.
Do you have any song or project out right now that you are trying to promote? What is special about it, what is it about, and what helped you write it?
I don't have a specific project out right now just a few singles. I've only released some singles since getting out of prison. Naturally, that's been a big influence on my music early on and it will continue to be a part of me, but I'm trying to evolve past that being a big part of my content. Nonetheless, it was in prison that I realized I really wanted to pursue music and rap. It's ironic but I had to get locked up to get locked in to music. From here on out though, I look back on my trouble past, the crazy times, the struggles, being locked up and now a days it's just motivation to do better, fuel to the musical fire.
What are you currently working on? When do you estimate a release and what can we expect from you in the future?
Currently i'm working 3 big projects. My solo EP titled "We$torious" which is the umbrella brand that encompasses all that me,my team, and my brand do and represent. I wanted this to be the name of my first project because this EP will bookmark my entire career. It represent my start, my launching pad, it represents my city, my people and me and my 22 years life. This EP will let the world know who We$torious Paco Dena is, and they will know I'm here to shake the game up.
Connecting to this EP I'm also working on a music video for the single on the project titled "Level". It's a hot song, and we've got some great footage at some really dope locations. I'm really excited for that and for all my fans to finally get some new music and fresh visuals.
Lastly I've come together with my boy Ivory to form our duo We$t in Peace. Ivory is my producer, engineer, and long time friend. When i got out of prison we reconnected and I found out he was doing music too and it just worked. He's coming from a real lyrical, old school boom bap kinda background and i do more trap type rap but for some crazy reason, it works. We got some really fire music in the works, our debut EP will be titled "Dead End" so be on the look out for that. If all goes according to schedule all of these projects will be finished by the end of this month.
How long have you been rapping? What made you start? Who are your inspirations? Is there any one artist that influences your style the most?
Let's go back in time. In high-school I just used to right down punch lines or metaphors but I would never expand on it. I would never look back at what I wrote. I actually used to post on Facebook what I wrote and I seemed to get alot of good feedback from it. People used to think I was quoting famous people when really it was my own thoughts. So I always had that thought in mind that maybe I should start rapping but I just never did considering the fact that I was just making fast money, hustling, and affiliated with the gang life style. So that seemed more important at the time. Because of that life style I was living i ended up going to juvenile hall for a year. I was 17 and got out when I was 18. I then got out for 3 months and went right back in and I did a 3 year stretch. So from 2011-2015 I spent a good amount of time of my youth incarcerated. It wasn't until that second time as an adult that I went to jail that I actually sat there and started writing raps in my cell.
So since I had all the time in the world at this point I would just read books, write letters, and write lyrics. Little by little I accumulated a good amount of material. So going to jail was definitely a key factor that helped me write my raps as weird as it may sound. I think people that believe in me and constantly remind me are the people that truelly motivate and inspire me to keep pushing. The number one artist that inspires me is Eminem no doubt. But I sound no where near him, haha. But if you're talking about artist that influence my actual style I would say it's in the middle of Schoolboy Q and ASAP Rocky. I'm heavily influenced by them both. Although I relate more to Schoolboy Q and what he raps about.
What do you believe separates you as an artist? What is your story?
I think what separates me as an artist is my identity and my musical style. There aren't many Mexicans out there doing rap/trap, and even less doing it well. At the end of the day I just want to make good music and in the short amount of time that I've been in the game I've gotten nothing but support and positive feedback, so right now the only way is UP. Musically, I'm very picky with beats, I need them to slap, big distorted 808's subbing the low end, rhythmic hi hat rolls, and the melodies have to make you feel and connect you to the song. If the beat doesn't make you say "this beat is dope, I ain't fucking with it". A lot separates me as a rapper too, finding catchy cadences is very common in trap music, almost a requisite, and I bring that too, but I also add a lyrical, content heavy, clever punchline type of element that surprises people in a good way. I want them to say "damn he's actually spitting some real shit". Top that with catchy hooks and I like to think I have the recipe to continue cooking some real music. I'm a versatile rapper, and like I said before I just want to make good music. I'm just a young Hispanic kid trying to make a name for himself.
How has Beat of the Week helped you with your career, honing your skills, or gaining exposure?
Aside from the monetary benefits of winning BOTW and helping me invest in the many expenses of being an artist, BOTW has really helped me build my fan base. I get to showcase my skills and put it out there and I often get new fans every time I enter the contest so that's def a big plus. I also get to network with other really dope artists who I can interact with and collab with if possible. On that note it is a contest so the competition definitely helps in bringing my best to the table and motivating me to do better the next time.
"THIS ONE IS FOR MY MOM" by W Paco Dena.