A few facts about Sheck Wes’ “Mo Bamba”: it’s named after the recently-drafted NBA rookie Mohamed Bamba, who is also Sheck’s childhood friend; Drake, Travis Scott and Shaquille O’Neal are among the many big names who have been bumping it; and after steadily rising to the boil all year long, it finally exploded this summer.
But the most important thing to know about “Mo Bamba” is this:
This is Sheck Wes’ trademark ad-lib, a word he screams with reckless abandon over Take A Daytrip and 16yrold’s combustible production (and also during the most satisfying parts of Travis Scott’s “NO BYSTANDERS”). It’s what cranks “Mo Bamba”’s energy all the way to 10 and gives the song its unique charm, regardless of where you stand on the overuse of the b-word in rap music. Hell, Sheck Wes yelling “bitch!” could’ve made C. Delores Tucker turn the fuck up (God rest her soul).
Perhaps the only thing more amazing than Sheck’s ad-lib is the story behind it.
In a new video from The New York Times titled “The Story of ‘Mo Bamba’: How a SoundCloud Rap Track Goes Viral,” the song’s co-producers Take A Daytrip (aka Denzel Baptiste and David Biral) explain how their laptop freezing mid-recording session lead to Sheck’s now-famous catchphrase.
Denzel Baptiste: “I had an older laptop at the time, so that laptop always froze. So I’m like, ‘Please, please God, don’t freeze.’ I could see the playhead moving—and then everything freezes. And then, just, no music.”
David Biral: “So [Sheck]’s like, ‘FUCK! SHIT!”
Denzel Baptiste: “And then right when he said, ‘BITCH!’ everything just unfroze…We were like, ‘Oh, he just did it!’ It was literally like he just did a triple back flip and landed perfectly on his feet.”
Speaking of landing triple backflips, the video also reveals that Sheck recorded the whole song (minus the additional ad-libs) in one take. One take!
For those of you who still have gripes about the content of his ad-lib, though, Sheck Wes assures there’s no misogynistic malice behind it. “I use the b-word a lot. I don’t use it to degrade women or anything,” he says. “Anytime you hear me say ‘bitch,’ it’s because it means something. I [might] be angry so I’m not really me.”
And nothing warrants an angry, profanity-laced outburst like a laptop freezing during a crucial moment—say, for example, when you’re writing a killer blog post.
Wait, did this thing just?
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