Harlem rapper Khadimou Fall, professionally known as Sheck Wes, is known for not playing by the rules.
Born to immigrant parents from Senegal, his interest in music began at the age of 11. Intrigued by the rhythms of African drums, Wes was inspired to create his own music. He grew up with a broad taste in music, Wes says, “I grew up listening to all types of music, from Seun Kuti to DmX and ODB.”
Wes initially set his sights on a career in basketball. Around the age of 13, he started to take basketball seriously — a decision he credits for making him more lenient in life and in music. By the time he was 16, his hoop dreams on the back burner: he signed with a New York modeling agency, and performed in his first show a day later.
He credits his unprivileged upbringing for shaping him into the artist he is today. Growing up in Harlem, he faced with many challenges. He claims he stole to get by and skipped school often. His mother, displeased with his behavior, occasionally sent him to Africa for his wrongdoing.
“Africa was way harder than the U.S., like, here we really have freedom,” Wes says of his time abroad.
After returning from Africa, Wes had a new perspective on life and decided to take music seriously. After releasing a few songs, he found success with his hit “Mo Bamba,” a song inspired by NBA draft pick and childhood friend Mohamed Bamba. Wes wrote the song during a time when several record labels were in a bidding war to sign him to a contract, an experience he found similar to what Bamba went through as a professional basketball player.
“Mo Bamba” caught the attention of Travis Scott, Drake, and Kanye West, earning him a deal with Scott’s Cactus Jack Records. Wes has also gained a tremendous amount of support from Drake, who brought him out as a frequent guest on his Scorpion Tour.
Wes’ debut album Mudboy highlights his various trials and tribulations, as well as his hurdles navigating the music industry. It contains the previously-released tracks “Chippi Chippi and “Live Sheck Wes,” a track that paints a vivid picture of his life in the inner city.
Fueled by rage and sadness, Mudboy is aggressive, introspective and autobiographical.
Despite his initial success, Wes has big ambitions. He hopes to combine all of his passions and build a career intertwined in music, modeling, fashion design and basketball. It’s clear he knows where he’s headed because he knows where he’s been.
In an interview with “I’m a mudboy. I came from the mud, oozed out the concrete,” he told Yahoo Entertainment. “I’m not a rose. I’m a mudboy, I came from nothing.”
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