Sheck Wes, a 20-year-old rapper from Harlem, New York, has the music industry in a frenzy with his Billboard top 20 hit “Mo Bamba." The song—inspired by his childhood friend and Orlando Magic NBA rookie center Mohamed Bamba—has critics christening Wes the next superstar emcee to come out of Harlem. But Wes is hoping to be something bigger than his track "Mo Bamba." He is here to let his swagger, energetic presence and lyrical skills cement his place as one of hip-hop’s fastest rising stars. His debut LP, Mudboy, has fans asking for more from the young lyricist. Sheck Wes wants to prove to critics that he’s more than a new school trap music artist. He wants to spin a new thread in hip-hop with his head-bopping beats.
In an interview with Pitchfork this past July, he laid out his plans to be the first person to win both the Nobel Peace Prize and a Grammy, all while becoming an NBA-caliber basketball player. It’s a goal that seems impossible to achieve. But when you hear Wes’s energy on Mudboy, you feel optimistic that he could be the first—and only—person capable of accomplishing something like that.
Coming from a family of Senegalese Muslims, Wes split time between his parent's homes in Milwaukee and New York City. Wes sold drugs and shoplifted until, eventually, his mother kicked him out of the house. She decided to send him to their native homeland of Senegal, Africa, in June of 2016 to be with family and acclimate to a completely different culture. In an interview with Pigeons and Planes, Wes says that the trip helped him discover his purpose in life. “I finally got my why, I always used to search for a why to explain why I’m doing what I’m doing,” he said. “Then I went to Africa and I was like, ‘Man I gotta do this shit for these people.’ This is my why and that's a big enough why. It's meaningful. Everybody has to find their why.”