It’s only been a year since the release of Wes’ astounding single ‘Mo Bamba’, which has gradually propelled him to new heights, and grabbed him cosigns with Travis Scott and Ye. With such hype surrounding his name, and still being at the tender age of 20, it could have been easy for the Houston rapper to fall off the pace, but on this record he seems determined to prove otherwise.
On ‘MUD BOY’, Sheck Wes relishes the opportunity to diversify his sound, and make it more universally admirable. Switching between obnoxious, disillusioned bangers and cultivating mellow trap, Wes’ ability to keep his fans on their toes is probably one of the most unexpected but respectable aspects of the album. He could have easily made predictable, one dimensional bangers like the rest of the trap scene, but, to my surprise, he’s opted for quite a variety of sounds.
‘Mindfucker’ is an instant slap around the face, I could write a description of the song using a fancy stance, but I thought I’d just be true to you all; it is a haunting banger and fantastic mood setter for the rest of the LP. It transitions straight into previous single ‘Live Sheck Wes’, which is one of the best live songs I’ve witnessed this year. It has a cult like, riotous sound, setting the gas levels high as we progress into the more spooky section of the album. ‘Gmail’, ‘Wanted’ and ‘Chippi Chippi’ all sound as if they should be dug up from a grave; frankly, if there is an album that should be played in every house hold this halloween, it is this one. This trio of songs make you wonder what sort of a mind Sheck possesses, the beats are all incredibly gut wrenching, making you quiver, and very much on edge.
I’m not going to say this album is perfect, because it really isn’t. There are a few songs that I really don’t care for, and if the album was more succinct and concise, I think it would have been an incredibly strong debut, maybe the best of the year. However, ‘WESPN’ could definitely have been dropped, or at least made shorter than the lengthy 4:30 time; it did have potential to be a killer trap track. ‘Kyrie’ is also fairly average, and can only be saved by Sheck Wes humorously heckling himself with this alter ego sounding “mud boy” mumble.
This all goes out of the window though, when ‘Mo Bamba’ proceeds, and reminds us all of just how talented an artist Sheck Wes is. There are many basketball references on the LP, but this track is the biggest analogy used to portray the Senegalese born boy’s other passion. The album’s ending is very strong; on ‘jiggy with the shits’ and ‘fuck everybody’ we see the youthful angst and aggression that we love Wes for. Telling ‘Hollywood’ to “suck his dick”, and charging into a chanting chorus of “Fuck Everybody”, “Fuck School”, you really feel the anger Wes possesses.
‘Vetements Socks’ is an intriguing closer, combining sounds of English indie music from the 90s, it slightly sounds as if the melody could have slipped onto a record by the Cure, but sticking to his goofy adlibs and trappy snares, it sees off the album brilliantly. He’s always expressed a love for fashion, modelling for Virgil Abloh at his first Louis Vuitton runway show, and for one of Helmut Lang’s latest collections too.
It’s, overall, a very solid debut from the rapper, hopefully setting him up for a set of prolific releases and future big name collaborations too. Listen to ‘MUDBOY’ below.