Last year, Milwaukee-based musician, producer, actor, and videographer Wes Tank went viral by rapping Dr. Seuss books over beats made by Dr. Dre. Those early-pandemic videos garnered millions of YouTube views, earned oodles of press from renowned publications, led to Tank being interviewed on TV programs all around the world, and eventually found the experienced rapper co-creating and hosting a Kidoodle.TV series called StoryRaps. Now less than two years removed from those first hit videos, Tank has found success as a children’s entertainer, and has even been able to perform his youth-oriented material in front of live audiences.

Shortly after his recent sets at Summerfest and a homecoming show in his native Dodgeville, Tank spoke to My First Band host Tyler Maas about the unexpected artistic pivot his music took in early 2020, the amazing response to his videos, and everything that came before last year’s breakout. Over the course of the conversation, the pair revisited past collaborations as office neighbors before Tank talked about discovering rap in a small Wisconsin town, formative projects he’d put on display in Milwaukee basements while in college, making music videos with Busdriver and Serengeti, recording and touring as WC Tank, the enduring creativity of Stumblesome, and much more.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Stumblesome (“Adultified”).