We’ve all heard of people born with silver spoons in their mouths, but Swade G—born Wade Kibby in Los Angeles—was given two even greater blessings: the gift of funk and the good fortune to learn the ropes from his older brother “Dirty Walt” Kibby,” co-founder of ska/punk/funk-metal legends Fishbone who’s now gone hardcore with Year of the Dragon.
The multi-talented hip hop performer paid his proverbial dues as a tech on the road with Fishbone, cutting his studio teeth in Long Beach with E-White (Snoop Dogg) and Chuck Taylor (Warren G) and co-writing and producing tracks on his brother’s side project Dirty Walt and the Columbus Sanatation’s Still Smokin’ album. Now Swade is finally dropping his long awaited debut joint Ghetto Life in partnership with Framed, an artist management company based in Austin, Tx.
Featuring Swade on vocals and most of the instruments and Compton based rapper Kool Aid handling the rhymes, Ghetto Life draws melodic and groove inspiration from some of Swade’s top influences (Rick James, George Clinton, Warren G) while taking an honest, sometimes unglamorous and gritty look at real life. After numerous false starts at recording his own projects, the multi-talented writer and performer got around some of the tough issues to create 11 tracks that are representative snapshots that reflect the confidence of finally finding his voice as an artist. In his typically humble way, Swade says, “I’m not trying to be some fake person or put together a fantasy picture just because it feels good. I won’t lie to people or sing about stuff I don’t believe in.”
That integrity, combined with Swade’s charismatic stage presence, has made his recent live performances dynamic and memorable experiences. After recent club shows in San Francisco and L.A.’s Chinatown, he performed at Headhunters in Austin during the recent South By Southwest Conference and later returned to play there at the Austin coffeehouse Ruta Maya with rappers T-Double, and Glitterbillies.
Swade’s explosive beats and infectious melodies make Ghetto Life an irresistible listen on a purely musical level, but check out the raps and choruses and you might get a few practical tips for positive living along the way. “Money, Then A Nut” is about the messed up priorities that have hindered the singer-songwriter from success in the past. It’s about spending so much time chasing women that you don’t take care of the important things in life. “First,” he says, “you’ve got to get money, make sure you get paid somehow and take care of yourself. Things are going to go smoother when your pockets are full. Then you can worry about the rest.”
Along those lines, “How Time Flies” hooks us in with a chorus that says: “Ain’t It Funny how time flies/Are you getting your American Pie.” Nope, Swade’s not talking about the Don McLean song or the teen movies, he’s asking if we’re out there, going after our slice of the American Dream. “Things are getting harder, and life’s not slowing down for anyone,” he says, “so you have to ask yourself, are you getting your money? And before too long, you should follow your dreams.” Swade also pays homage where it’s due—to his brother “Dirty Walt,” of whom he sings, “Just say ‘Dirty Walt’ if you want that funk.” Swade is giving props to his brother for holding up the funk torch and contributing to its legacy.
Swade resides in Long Beach, California, where he owns Nuttsackular Productions and keeps busy with various entrepreneurial projects.