There’s a simple but effective formula to a Sheck Wes song: a bass-rattling beat, off-key singing, basketball references and a lot of “bitch” ad-libs. Also, the Harlem rapper loves to say his own name. It doesn’t matter if it’s the basis of a hook (“Live Sheck Wes, bitch, I’m dying Sheck Wes”), the beginning of a verse (“Young Sheck Wes and I’m getting really rich”) or the intro to a song (“Sheck Jesus, Sheck, Sheck Jesus”), Wes will make sure you know his name. Those ingredients catapulted Sheck’s “Mo Bamba” to number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 this year, and the Harlem rapper is now trying to duplicate that success on Mudboy, which was released Friday, October 5.
The goal of Sheck’s debut project is transparent. Find “Mo Bamba 2.” Or, at the very least, something that can match that song’s menacing and bombastic energy. That’s where “Kyrie” comes in. The track is named after Boston Celtics point guard, Kyrie Irving, much like “Mo Bamba” took its title from the name of Sheck’s childhood friend turned NBA pro.
Over the Redda-produced beat, Wes delivers a straightforward, but effective hook — “Kyrie, K-K-K-Kyrie / Ballin’ like I’m Kyrie, K-K-K-Kyrie.” Thankfully, there are no bars about flat earth theories or partying with white girls on yachts, but there is a sample of what sounds like Irving telling a heckler to “suck” an explicit body part after asking about the whereabouts of LeBron.
“Kyrie” isn’t revolutionary. That it’s a photocopy of “Mo Bamba” simply adds to its charm. Sheck might as well make three more songs named after basketball players and form a starting lineup.