Review Summary: Sheck Wes the hottest in the country.
I wouldn’t usually endorse the phrase ‘mumble rap,’ but Sheck Wes deserves it. Between grumbling bass and off-kilter synths, he barks and mutters insults, barely rising above a feint, droning whisper. That is, until he stumbles over his limited bars and begins ‘shi
tting’ and ‘bi
tching’ his way back into a new rhyme. He says his own name a lot. He curses nonspecifically at everything. And he prides himself in being an obnoxious loafer. He’s a mumble rapper, and proud of it. I refrain from calling him a mumble rapper though because it implies that all of that inarticulate shouting and sloganeering is just a vibe without consequence. Which is
true -- there’s not much of a conscience to any of this -- but you have to hear Sheck Wes to get a feel for Sheck Wes. You’ve probably heard “Mo Bamba” already, which is far and away the best song on Mudboy
, but you have to hear “Gmail” or non-album single “Do That” to appreciate how he builds a vibe. It usually always starts the same way. You don’t expect Sheck Wes to snap. But then Sheck Wes snaps
, and you don’t even realise that you’re partying to the sound of a guy calling you a bi
tch. He’s just so smooth and deliberate in his performance that you don’t care.
Having said all of that, there isn’t enough content in Mudboy
to make it much other than a vibe. There are traces of A$AP Ferg, Waka Flocka Flame, and OG Maco locked beneath its consistently muddy sound. But there isn’t enough nuance or ‘moments’ to make it worth repeated listens (like Sheck’s mentor, Travis Scott). He’s probably got a royally useless XXL Freshman place waiting for him in the next year, and he’s probably got enough clout for some high profile collaborations, too. Not to mention “Mo Bamba” is already enough of a meme to sustain a few months of unpaid promotion. But a lot of that is going to hinge on Sheck’s vibes becoming that much harder. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious path towards that, given how hard he is right now. But I trust that anyone that can make something as startlingly homogenous as this sound so fresh and exciting is capable of anything.