Sheck Wes has all the makings of hip-hop’s next superstar. The Harlem native is in the midst of enjoying a meteoric rise from underground creative to rap’s mainstream. As part of Footaction’s “No One Way” campaign, the “Mo Bamba” rapper stopped by the athletic footwear retailer in his hometown on Saturday (Sept. 8) for a Q&A with fans and even chopped it up with VIBE for a short time, before delivering an energetic impromptu performance.
Whenever Sheck picks up the mic, the area immediately turns into a moshpit-friendly space within a frenetic atmosphere where the youthful exuberance is just contagious. He doesn’t care if it’s Harlem’s Footaction in front of 50 people or the thousands that will pack out arenas when he opens up for his mentor Travis Scott on the Astroworld Tour.
“To me, no matter where I perform, it’s going to be lit. I’ve been in front of 60,000 people. Then there are times I’ve been in front of less than 100. Every single show is going to be something you remember,” he tells VIBE, days before celebrating his 20th birthday. “The venue doesn’t matter, the energy’s never going to change.”
The Cactus Jack signee is a man of his word. Minutes later, Wes instructed DJ Scott Lauren to play the instrumentals to his string of viral hits such as “Live SheckWes Die SheckWes” and “Mo Bamba.” As you would expect, controlled chaos quickly ensued inside the sneaker store, as the lucky millennials in attendance were sent into a frenzy.
Sheck Wes & Mo Bamba turning up to “Mo Bamba” at a Footaction in Harlem today! pic.twitter.com/UpDLDJPhdJ
— Sheck Wes Fanpage (@SheckJesus) September 9, 2018
Orlando Magic rookie Mo Bamba joined his childhood friend onstage for the performance of the anthemic tune named in his honor. “Mo Bamba” currently sits at No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100, notching Sheck his first appearance on the elusive chart of his burgeoning career.
“I thought that song was on the Billboard Hot 100 way before it actually did. I’m honestly just so proud of this dude. He has his handprint all over the game and entertainment and that’s what makes him special,” Bamba glowingly says of his fellow Harlem hero.
The former Texas Longhorn center explained the riotous song’s origin to VIBE prior to the NBA Draft in June. “I told him to drop the song but I only told him to namedrop me in a verse and he ended up sending me this file that said ‘Mo Bamba’ as the name of the whole song. I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ It was pretty cool. The song kind of just blew up,” Mo said.
Mo Bamba listens to strictly Sheck Wes before games. pic.twitter.com/fQ0rwXfMU5
— Lil Antacid (@LordTreeSap) June 20, 2018
As an avid NBA fan, Sheck always looks to make comparisons between the intersecting cultures of hip-hop and basketball. Wes has career aspirations of one day becoming the rap game’s Kevin Durant. “[Kevin Durant’s] super versatile. He’s always consistently scoring. It’s really more of what his game represents to a kid like me,” he explains.
“I grew up watching Kobe and all these other dudes, but I was in love with that Oklahoma City Thunder team with James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant. [Durant] was the skinny kid that was scoring and relatable to me.”
All of this momentum will lead into Sheck’s highly anticipated debut album which may arrive before 2018 closes out. “Mudboy is going to be out real soon. It’s in the mixing stage right now,” Wes concludes with a smile.