Sheck Wes has fully arrived, in all his glory. After exploding onto the scene with one of the most popular singles ever, “Mo Bamba,” he released his debut album MUDBOY on October 4th. What followed was a beautiful menagerie of heat and pounding production that culminated into a fantastic first album. To get this review, I called upon dear friend and fellow writer for NC Views, Alex Borovoy, noted hip-hop head, to help me out. This review is pretty much a pretty accurate representation of conversations we have had about this album, so enjoy this review, in all it’s visceral nature.
1. What was your first reaction first time through the Mudboy?
Alex: I was initially a little disappointed. I was expecting an album full of bangers like “Mo Bamba” and “Live Sheck Wes, Die Sheck Wes.” By the time I got half way through the album I began to enjoy the diversity in tempo and flows that Sheck Wes had. It was kind of like an emotional roller coaster. I went from hating off rip to really enjoying Mudboy by the time I finished my first listen.
Ritchie: MUDBOY! I don’t think that left my brain once throughout the entire first listen. It was almost haunting, like a disembodied voice whispering in my ear, warning me of the oncoming heat that was about to come to my ears. But seriously though, I thought that the album transitioned nicely from song to song. It felt well-thought out, which is more than I can say for other works that have come out this year, looking at you Kanye.
2. How long have you been a Sheck Wes Stan?
Alex: I’ve been following Sheck Wes since early 2016. He was hanging out with all the big names in the NYC youth scene like Asspizza and Jonah Levine so they were really pushing his music. I remember listening to “Live Sheck Wes Die Sheck Wes” on Soundcloud and being like “what the fuck is this shit? It slaps!” So, I started peeping his older stuff as well. I only began to stan him after he signed to Cactus Jack/GOOD music and released a few singles on Spotify.
Ritchie: Since the very first time I heard “Mo Bamba.” That might be the hardest song ever, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I would legitimately serve jail time for Sheck Wes. He might be the best thing to happen to music in the past couple of years. I’m not even joking. I can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t love Sheck Wes. His energy is hypnotizing, he’s really good at basketball, and he’s not problematic. That’s a recipe for stanning for sure.
3. What was the album’s highest point? It’s lowest?
Alex: The best part of the album is definitely the latter half. The high point for me was either “Kyrie” or “Vetements Socks.” “Kyrie” is super catchy and goes right into “Mo Bamba” which keeps the BANGER! level at its peak. “Vetements Socks” speaks to me on a spiritual level.
Ritchie: The entire album is a high point, that’s non-negotiable. The highest points were the moments that Sheck Wes perfected the back-to-back banger. Those moments were “Live Sheck Wes” and “Gmail” consecutively, and “Kyrie” going straight into “Mo Bamba.” Personally, I believe that the ability to link together songs is the most important aspect of an album, and Sheck Wes executed it to perfection.
4. Which song made you feel like you should go be an NBA point guard right now?
Alex: “Kyrie?” “Mo Bamba?” I’m not sure that thought even crossed my mind, I suck at basketball.
Ritchie: “Kyrie” made me feel like I had to go put up mid-range shots in the gym in order to increase my efficiency to impress some scouts in pre-draft workouts. So “Kyrie” is the best answer here.
5. How does this serve as a debut album after all the hype of “Mo Bamba?”
Alex: I think it’s a solid debut album.The best way I can describe it is Harlem swag meets Death Grips. Sheck Wes definitely showed that he’s not to be messed around with. I’m glad he’s not a one hit wonder unlike other GOOD music signees (I’m lookin at you Desiigner). My biggest fear is that Sheck has reached his ceiling with MUDBOY, which hopefully is not the case.
Ritchie: I think it did a perfect job of solidifying Sheck Wes’ personality and charisma. I think that the biggest fear I had was that it would be a let down from the greatest song of all time, but for me, it lived up to expectations. It was constant heat, from song to song, bolstered by stellar production. An important part of this album was how each of the singles, “Chippi Chippi,” “Live Sheck Wes,” and “Mo Bamba,” sounded much better within the fabric of the album. This all being said, I think that Sheck Wes is one of the best worst rappers ever, but it works for him.
6. What do you think of the no features?
Alex: I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand I think it’s great because Sheck Wes gets to to be the center of attention, forcing him to be at his best with both his lyricism and his flows. On the other hand, I think that at some points in the album I got kind of bored of Sheck Wes. It would have been nice for him to get someone to hop on a chorus for at least some of the tracks.
Ritchie: Love it. Nothing more ballsy than saying “I don’t need any help, I’m doing this myself.” And it worked.
7. Where can Sheck Wes go from here?
Alex: I think that, as of now, Sheck Wes is going to be a staple in “hip-hop head” circles. That being said, I’m not certain that he has cross genre appeal beyond “Mo Bamba.” I personally will continue to mosh to Sheck Wes bangers at parties. It remains to be seen if others are willing to do so.
Ritchie: Up. Join the Sheck Wes bandwagon now or you’ll be left behind. Live Sheck Wes forever.