“Young Sheck Wes and I’m getting really rich!”
What started echoing in the pockets of Harlem has become an international movement. From the song’s onset, the playful chords’ and recognizable producer tags wake the listener like a Russian sleeper agent, forcing involuntary physical and poignant responses. It’s one of those songs that incites an emotional medley of excitement, boisterousness, ignorance, and an attitude of “I can do whatever the fuck I want”. Of course, I’m talking about Sheck Wes’ infectious hit, “Mo Bamba”. On Friday, October 5th, this now global fan base will be properly introduced to the 20-year-old Cactus Jack-signee: Mudboy, Sheck’s debut album, is coming.
While Sheck Wes’ now trending household name might have “appeared” out of nowhere, his recent rapid ascent isn’t a stroke of luck–it’s the product of resonating authenticity whose allure deepens every time “I got hooeeesss” booms out of a soundsystem.
Originally released over one-year-ago, on June 16th, 2017, it wasn’t until Sheck and his team dropped the DIY-stylized January ‘18 music video–shot in black and white, showing Sheck riding around a Harlem basketball court on a scooter (his leg was broken for the video shoot)–that “Mo Bamba” started gaining steam to enjoy its current ubiquity. Now growing at an exponential rate, and currently sitting at over 70mm Spotify streams, “Mo Bamba” has relocated Sheck’s star from local prominence to worldwide fandom. While other tracks are beginning to heed “Mo Bamba’s” direction, like the energetic “Live SheckWes Die SheckWes”, our understanding of Wes’ artistry is still not fully formed. What we do know, however, is that Sheck’s appeal and approach don’t conform to the industry’s norms–they exist on the margins.
Mudboy’s–to be released via Cactus Jack, GOOD Music, Interscope, and Polydor–marketing strategy mirrors the unconventionality and raw vibe of Sheck’s rise and essence. Calling upon the inspiration for his hit “Mo Bamba” track, Sheck recruited friend, fellow Harlemite, and the Orlando Magic’s 6th overall 2018 draft pick, Mohamed Bamba out of Texas, to announce and promote Mudboy in an intentionally amateur-looking manner.
Posted on Sheck’s Instagram late last night, October 1st, a two-picture carousel showing Mo Bamba wearing a “Mudboy 10.5.2018” shirt is juxtaposed with a close-up shot of the back of Bamba’s Magic jersey, revealing a grainy image of Mo’s last name and number: fittingly, the number five. No gimmicks, no high-priced label-backed marketing tactics–just two talented friends from Harlem promoting an album.
Offering further context of what a “Mudboy” is, Sheck spoke with Zane Lowe back in March on his Beats1 Radio show, explaining, “A MUDBOY is just somebody who came from nothing, you know, who turned nothing into something. You know, when I was in Africa, in the rain, I walk around in, like, mud, you know, the sand would turn to mud and you are not getting out of that.”
It’s this “Mudboy” disposition that has structured Sheck’s aesthetic, making him such an identifiable character for his swelling supporters: The notion that by adopting a “by any means necessary” mentality, anything is attainable. Whether someone needs to shoot the music video for their larger-than-life hit themselves, or promote the album that will house this hit with nothing more than social media and a buddy, anyone can turn nothing into something.
This Friday, October 5th, fans will be able to interpret for themselves what a “Mudboy” is, and receive the proper introduction to Sheck Wes.
Check out Sheck’s album-announcing Instagram post below:
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