Must Peep Monday #9

Live Sheck Wes // Sheck Wes

Sometimes, a Must Peep Monday will feature an insane, heady, nine-minute song that you can look into forever. Sometimes, an under-the-radar deep cut that deserved more airtime. But sometimes, I just want to highlight a song because it bangs. This is one of those Mondays.

“Live Sheck Wes,” from the titular Sheck Wes’s debut album, is a hard trap song, and it goes hard. That’s really most of what you need to know.

Considering the nationwide (global?) phenomenon that was “Mo Bamba,” it would be incredible for other songs from MUDBOY to even find a space in the conversation. However, “Live Sheck Wes” is a standout track on the project, and, paired with “Mo Bamba,” a good demonstration of Sheck’s skills.

There’s one verse, flanked by two choruses and an intro and outro on either end. But despite the short runtime, “Live Sheck Wes” is everything it needs to be and nothing more. The bass is dominating; the drums are simple and huge; the verse is hard, heavy, and high-energy. I think that last point is a particularly good summation of Sheck Wes’s appeal, and maybe that of trap music in general: Energy — and lots of it.

Wes is a fundamentals rapper. But whereas J. Cole and Logic are experts in the fundamentals of late-80’s-to-90’s OG rap, Sheck Wes is skilled in modern trap fundamentals. This is actually an effective way of understanding the core differences between the two factions of rap: Ask yourself where and why Logic and Sheck Wes’ music differ, and the answer will explain much of the divide between the “old-school” and the “new-school.”

Sheck Wes rap is what it very clearly and immediately is: Unrelenting, high-octane trap music. What you hear is what you get — a phrase often used to diminish the work in question — but here it’s a strength. Sure, rap that involves ten focused listens, a dictionary, and a history textbook is valuable and has its place, but there’s also a place for fun, energetic music that doesn’t require a Sociology P.h.D. to appreciate.

There are few songs that can provoke such a uniform, high-energy response from a crowd of young people the way “Mo Bamba” does. At first, I thought Wes would be a one-hit-wonder with “Mo Bamba,” but the success of “Live Sheck Wes” as well as MUDBOY in general is proof that he’s got something figured out. Anything that connects with that many people that strongly is intrinsically valuable, and the proof’s right in front of you in the white dude with the polo and khaki shorts, absolutely losing his mind.

C’mon, you can spare 2 1/2 minutes to go wild.


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