On his newest album True Story, Dallas rapper SniperShot revisits trying times over the past few years.
Born Wes Brown and raised in East Dallas, SniperShot grew up listening to hip-hop and fell in love with the genre. His affinity for rap music began in the fifth grade, when he discovered Gang Starr’s album Hard to Earn. On “Guru,” the opening track for True Story, SniperShot recites Gang Starr’s “Intro (The First Step)” verbatim.
Over the course of the album, SniperShot reflects on his childhood growing up in the White Rock Lake area. He gives a shout-out to the neighborhood on the track “Feelin’ Nice,” with the lyrics “Today’s been great around White Rock Lake.” It’s a happy, breezy cut reminiscent to the old school sounds of “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube.
Other tracks are a little more personal. On the Symbolyc One-produced “Life Is Crazy,” SniperShot talks about coping with his father’s illness.
“My father had Alzheimer's and he passed away last year," the rapper says. “It definitely made for trying circumstances. He ended up being forcefully locked up in this facility that wasn’t taking very good care of him. It was just a nightmare.”
SniperShot attended St. Edwards University in Austin, which is where he began freestyle rapping and writing songs. In 2005, on his way home to visit his family for the holidays, he was involved in a car accident. At this moment he realized he wanted a career in music.
Over the years, SniperShot has lived in various parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Tonga. Most recently, he lived in Guatemala, where he and his now ex-girlfriend were working for a nonprofit organization building houses.
He began working on True Story three years ago while traveling back and forth between Dallas. After COVID struck and travel restrictions were enforced, he was able to focus on finishing the album.
“For a while, I would leave, come back and get some work done, then I would leave again,” SniperShot says. “I guess one of the blessings that has come from this crazy year is that I’ve kind of been locked down here and I can focus on my music stuff.”
To promote the album, he created a ‘90s-style infomercial with local director Drew Sherman. While True Story is a more personal, reflective album, the infomercial allowed for comic relief.
“Drew and I collaborate on a lot of stuff,” SniperShot says. “I was just daydreaming and chit-chatting, trying to come up with stuff, and he had an idea for an infomercial. And we just kind of sparked it up really quick. We were laughing our butts off about it. In my music, I talk about serious stuff, but I also enjoy making people giggle a little bit.”
SniperShot has also given up alcohol and set a personal goal to work out every day for 100 days and document the journey on YouTube.
“It’s hard to think straight when I’m hungover,” he says. “My workout videos are almost as popular as my music videos. I’ve been getting messages from people all over the world saying they appreciate the positive messages and the positive changes.”
True Story is the second project the artist has released this year, with the first being Tha Mixtape IV: Tha Rebirth. He says he is already “halfway through” his next project, and he is sitting on an album he recorded in a van in Chiapas, Mexico.
“It was a very basic setup where there was like half a drum kit, a guitar, a ukulele and a laptop,” SniperShot says. “We just were inspired by where we were at the time, or where we were camping, We just kind of let the energy flow and we made some really cool feel-good music.”
Since COVID, SniperShot has performed at a small house show in town and at a private party in Arkansas, but the Bishop Arts resident doesn’t have any performances on his docket for the time being.
Once things return to normal, he looks forward to performing again. But for now, he is working on music around the clock.
“There are a lot of extremely talented people in the Dallas music scene,” he says. “It’s definitely a big family. I just try to be cool with everybody and keep it peaceful. But I have fewer distractions right now because there are less things for me to do. I’m trying to release as much music as I can.”
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.