Wade Dansby Jr. is a longtime fan of music and fashion. He worked for his uncle’s companies, For Life Records and Slave Entertainment.
Inspired, he founded Dig That Records in 1998. Still his family was shocked when they found out he wanted to pursue music.
“They knew I was into music, but they never heard me,” says Dansby, who raps as Wade (pronounced Wad-ay).
They did, finally, when he released Rubbin’ Elbows earlier this year.
“This is my first album,” he says. “They finally heard me really rapping and realized how I’m doing it. Everybody was amazed.”
Rubbin’ Elbows, he says, is going to make its mark in Arizona, a state known for middle-of-the-road rock acts.
“I write about what I’ve been through and what I’m living,” he says. “Everything I rap about is real. I’m not necessarily saying I’m doing it still.
“The younger generation, they rap about all these different drugs and disrespecting women. I write about me. The album is going to bring you back to a place that was better.”
Speaking of those days, Dansby remembers when he heard music that moved him: the album Off the Wall by Michael Jackson.
“My auntie used to have it,” he says. “She had the album cover on her wall and she used to play the album back and forth. To see him actually performing videos and stuff like that as a little kid in 1980-something was amazing.”
Despite being a big Jackson fan, the Mountain Pointe High School alum’s first concert was Bobby Brown.
“Ice Cube happened to be in town and he came on stage. He sang a verse of his song. I never expected to go to a Bobby Brown concert and see Ice Cube of NWA sing a verse from his song.”
Dansby will hit the stage himself this Friday, August 10, when he plays Club Red in Mesa.
“You’re going to get real life, like if I was at home sitting in front of the television, but right in front of you,” Dansby says. “I’m going to give you a show. I’m going to meet my people. It’s going to be uplifting and bring the crowd to all kinds of emotions.
“I like to joke. I like to chill and have fun. I’m just a real person and I’m just humbled every day.”
He stresses he is the same person he was in high school.
“I’m a humble person,” he says. “Everything I’m doing, I don’t do it selfishly. I do it for me and the people who surround me.”
Phoenix Phridayz Summer Jam Showcase featuring Wade, Club Red, 1306 W. University Drive, Mesa, clubredrocks.com, arizonamixtapes.com, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, August 10, $15 at the door.