Artist Spotlight: Made It Out The Mud: The rise of Sheck Wes

Orlando Magic center Mohamed Bamba reacts during the fourth quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in Miami, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Sheck Wes has been grinding for a decade and isn’t about to stop anytime soon. This past summer, the Harlem-based rapper shot to fame with his gritty hit “Mo Bamba” and has been gaining non-stop attention ever since.

Wes, born Khadimoul Rassoul Sheck Fall, Wes has been making music since he was 11 years old. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but split his time between the Midwest City and New York. During adolescence, Wes became fascinated with rap, fashion and basketball. He moved to New York full-time at the beginning of high school in order to pursue his interests.

His grip on both worlds began to slide when Wes had to choose between playing in a championship basketball game and modeling for Yeezy Season 3. Wes ultimately chose the runway show, saying in a “Pigeons & Planes” interview, “I wanted to be a part of this thing people are gonna talk about forever and it was some s*** nobody ever did before. So I was happy I did Yeezy Season 3 because it opened up a lot of doors for me.”

Before Wes could get his big break, however, his mother sent him to Senegal, Africa to clean up his act with initially no passport to return. Wes describes this time in his life as being a major turning point in his attitude towards the world and his music. After living in Senegal for a year, Wes was able to return to New York, ready to devote himself to his music.

This dedication and drive paid off. Flash forward a couple of years later, and Wes has a joint record deal with both Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music and Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack label. “Mo Bamba” peaked on the US Billboard Hot 100 and has been a staple in hip-hop and trap music ever since. Wes has played all around the country and abroad and will be the opening act on Travis Scott’s “Wish You Were Here” tour. And, most recently, Wes released his first full-length album, entitled “Mudboy,” on Oct. 5.

Because of the popularity of “Mo Bamba,” “Mudboy” was highly anticipated, both by fans ready for an incredible album and skeptics who believed Wes to be a one-hit wonder. The album includes Wes’ three already released singles: “Mo Bamba,” “Live Sheck Wes” and “Chippi Chippi.”

The tracks on “Mudboy” have a similar sound to Wes’ other singles, staying with the rapper’s gritty lyrics, pounding trap beats and extensive ad-libs. However, there are also some slower songs on the album such as “Never Lost” and “Vetements Socks,” the latter of which is quickly becoming a new fan favorite.

Two other notable new tracks on the album are “Gmail” and “F**k Everybody” which both use the hype beats and aggressive lyrics that are characteristic of Wes’ earlier songs. While at some times it seems as though the songs were made in Wes’ bedroom, the overall project certainly delivers what it promised. What Wes seems to lack in lyrical content he makes up for in passion.

It’s clear that Wes is no one-hit wonder but is instead an artist with the drive, passion and hunger to keep creating.


Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.