Harlem rapper Sheck Wes is, at least in Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music’s eyes, New York’s next big thing. With a grip of viral singles, “Mo Bamba” and “Live SheckWes Die SheckWes,” the 19-year-old rapper has a lot to be proud of, but as he revealed to Pitchfork, his biggest point of pride is in his lyrical ability.
“A lot of n****s are popping nowadays because of the beats,” he told senior writer Timmhotep Aku. “That’s why producers walk around with all this ice on them, because they the real stars. No shade, and shout out to Lil Pump, but on a track like ‘Gucci Gang’ he’s not really saying much. ‘Live Sheck Wes’ is the same type of song as [‘Gucci Gang’]: One verse and the hook, and the song is over with. But the lyrics [in my song are] real! That’s why n****s fuck with it. That’s why older n****s respect my shit more. A n***a like J. Cole should never come for me! I would rap battle with J. Cole, I would diss the fuck out of that n***a. I’d diss Drake, all these n****s. Kanye, I don’t care. I been in a room with all the Migos and out-rapped n****s.”
For Sheck Wes, confidence is certainly key. The young spitter has an undeniable ferocity on the mic, and his unabashed energy is likely to turn heads and earn respect because, as he points out later in the interview, behind the turn-up factor, he is rapping from the heart. There’s a heavy and cerebral darkness that marks “Live SheckWes,” something absent from Lil Pump’s music altogether. While the two artists employ the same raucous tone, Sheck Wes is right to say comparing him to Pump is both impossible and unfair.
Or, in short, Sheck Wes is really rapping. In a similar fashion to fellow New York artist Jay Critch, Sheck is bridging the gap between endless bars and street vignettes, and trap soundscapes that hook fans off a single listen. Though he expresses frustration that people boil down his entire sound to bangers, what matters is that the people are listening, and as we’ve seen time and time again, a potent message will always rise to the top.