Is Sheck Wes a one hit wonder?

His Wikipedia page (remember always be skeptical) confidently asserts that he is. Initially I’m tempted to agree, strictly because “Mo Bamba” off “MUDBOY” achieved a level of viral success few artists ever will in their lifetime. The music video is pretty close to a HALF BILLION views and the combined spins between radio, Spotify, Apple Music, whatever has to be close to the full B. The song continues to be memorable six years after its release, and without Wikipedia as a reference I will assert this as a fact, because I’ve heard college marching bands play this song multiple times. The infectious melody is tailor made for that kind of imitation. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

The other reason they might be right about Wes is because I’ve only seen his name come up once on RapReviews since “Mo Bamba,” and that was on “JACKBOYS” compilation from Travis Scott. He announced “Hell 2 Paradise” years ago, but only a smattering of singles have come out in the intervening time. He tried to go pro in basketball but that quickly fizzled out. He’s been in the news for less savory reasons as well. Everything in Wes life since “Mo Bamba” seems to be mo’ messy. It would be nice to seem him get focused and put out that second album, but the very success of his viral hit may be why he never does.

“I can’t get jiggy on the shits!”

Strange sentiments like that were novel when Sheck Wes was an unknown, but if he attempted to follow up “Mo Bamba” with a song like that today, people would think he’d lost his God damn mind. They’d wonder why he wasn’t singing something fun they could hum along to. The problem was “Mo Bamba” was never who he was. He was always a weirdo. He’s more Odd Future Wolf Gang than he is Lil Pump. “Live Sheck Wes” is a far more representative song. It boldly asserts that he’s going to be as strange as he wants, living and dying exactly who he is, giving no fucks at all.

“We was out here on the strip, telling cops to suck our dick”

More than any rapper in recent memory, Sheck Wes is cursed by the success of just one song. I enjoy the dank, electronic, understated vibes of “Chippi Chippi” immensely. Wes spits harrowing narratives like “Never used to eat, I was eating sleep for dinner” and the grimy Redda production reflects it perfectly. Sadly the accompanying video did over ten million views. That’s strange right? Over ten million is a huge success by most metrics, but when your biggest hit does a half billion, it looks like an absolute failure by comparison. People weren’t into it. I think it’s dope though.

I’ll go one further — “MUDBOY” is a fascinating album in general. It came in an era where rappers who sang usually distorted their vocals, but whether Sheck Wes sings or raps he gives it to you warts and all. There’s a raw honesty to his music that’s sorely lacking in overproduced, glittery, candy-coated commercial rap today. I’d like to see Wes get back together with his friends YungLunchBox, Redda, Digital Nas and WondaGurl for that second album. I’d like to see him get real weird with it. I’d like to see if he’s more than a one hit phenomenon, and I believe he can be.

Sheck Wes :: MUDBOY
8Overall Score