Illustration by Grace O’Keefe
Sheck Wes, a Harlem born rapper who was launched to fame by his 2017 single “Mo Bamba”, released his 14 track debut album on October 5. The album was highly anticipated and expected to be one of the best albums of 2018.
Before he had even released an album, when he only had four songs on his music platforms, he had already performed at Trillectro, a prominent Maryland music festival. Unfortunately, the reality of the album did not live up to the hype.
The music production is well done, but when the final product is in your earbuds, it does not deliver. The beat is a combination of so many different styles and influences that it all just seems to mesh together into one big auditory mess.
Wes is known for his heavy bass and declarative bars, but the delivery was poorly executed, almost as if it sounded better in his head then on tape. With the main ad-lib in all of the songs on the album being “B*TCHHH,” you can only be so creative.
Wes uses this voice sample almost like a crutch, relying on it, instead of actually writing imaginative and original lyrics. He even tries to explain away the reason for why he screams it at every opportunity he can possibly get. His reasoning being that “It is the only word where I can feel and hear my anger. It don’t got nothing to do with b*tches. It is just-B*TCHHH!!!B*TCH!!!”
Many rappers use vulgarities in their lyrics, but in order to successfully pull off using those words, there has to be a reason for that word being placed there. But on this album there is none. You come away from listening to the album feeling like Wes has no substance to his rhymes; he only used “B*tch” to be controversial, and for shock value, when in reality, the only thing it does is make you look like just another sexist rapper.
In all, there are only two songs that are not completely horrible to listen to, “Live Sheck Wes,” and “Mo Bamba,” the song that originally launched him to stardom. The latter is based off one of his childhood friends who also went to celebrity status, but for a different reason. He grew up in Harlem with the newly drafted Orlando Magic player Mohamed Bamba. The only reference to his friend in the song is him saying “I be ballin like my n*gga Mo (Bamba, b*tch).” Remember that we can not forget to place “b*tch” at least somewhere in the verse.
The other song on the album that did not make me want to rip my hair out was “Live Sheck Wes.” It had original lyrics that were not just talking about how many girls he has, or how much weed he is smoking. “Everybody grew up tough, bunch of diamonds in the rough Police ain’t never give a f*ck, they just want us in them cuffs (B*tch).”
With this song, the spontaneous and talented side of Wes shines through. He does not just coast along on the beat like most rappers do. Rather, he takes the beat, and makes it a part of his voice, not the opposite. He is real in a way that only few rappers have achieved in the past.
That ingenuity and truthfulness that originally got him co-signed by Kanye West’s music label G.O.O.D Getting Out Our Dreams (G.O.O.D) is the talent that put him in the same room as Travis Scott.
Although this album may not have lived up to the high expectations that many had set for it, there is still some hope for Wes. He may not have pulled it off successfully, but there is definite talent behind the blinged-out, angry, and misogynistic facade he shows the world. In order to show his true lyrical talents, he will need to drop the fame crazed rapper act, and show more of his actual emotions. Audiences are dying to hear his hopes, dreams, and fears, past and future.