Sheck Wes is an American rapper, model, and songwriter. He is jointly signed to Kanye West’s record label ‘GOOD Music’ and Travis Scott’s record label ‘Cactus Jack Records.’ Born into a family that immigrated from Senegalese to New York, Sheck spent his childhood in Wisconsin and New York City. Sheck had a troubled childhood as he was raised in a hostile environment. Thus, he started making music as a way to relieve stress. Although he was interested in music, he spent more time playing basketball during his high school days. His life changed dramatically when he was offered a modeling assignment for Kanye West’s sneaker line. He then shifted his attention from basketball to modeling. One thing led to another and Sheck eventually met the right people who helped him in launching his career in music. He soon came up with breakout singles, such as ‘Live SheckWes Die SheckWes’ and ‘Mo Bamba.’ ‘Mo Bamba’ was loved by music lovers and thus Sheck Wes was contacted by many music labels. Subsequently, he signed a joint deal with ‘GOOD Music’ and ‘Cactus Jack Records.’ In October 2018, Sheck released his debut album ‘Mudboy,’ which became a commercial success.
Childhood & Early Life
Sheck Wes was born as Khadimou Rassoul Cheikh Fall Mbengue in Harlem, New York City on September 10, 1998. His parents had immigrated from Senegalese to the United States. Sheck’s father, who could not speak English fluently, started working as a tailor in Harlem. Eventually, his father started working for popular American designers, such as Dapper Dan.
Sheck had a troubled childhood. When he was just a year old, his family home burned down in an accidental fire. Hence, his family was forced to live in a shelter. Sheck and his parents then managed to relocate to another house. Unfortunately, their second home too burned down, forcing them to live in public housing.
His parents worked hard to make both ends meet. Moreover, they were also obliged to send money to Africa to help their loved ones back home. Because of his parents’ busy lives, Sheck was often left alone. Hence, he had to take care of himself.
His parents soon realized that the neighborhood in Harlem could have negative influences on Sheck. When he was five years old, Sheck and his mother moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, his father stayed back in New York and continued to work hard to support his family. Sheck visited New York City every summer to spend time with his father.
He later said in one of his interviews that he did not enjoy his time in Milwaukee. When asked to compare Milwaukee with New York City, he said the latter offered him the freedom to do what he wanted to do. At the age of nine, he started developing an interest in rap music. When he moved back to New York City, he formed a rap group named ‘Mill Yorkers’ with his friends. He was subsequently enrolled at ‘Norman Thomas High School’ in New York City.
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Background & Career
While studying in high school, Sheck became interested in playing basketball. Simultaneously, he had started his modeling career as well. Once he started gaining recognition as a model, Sheck tried hard to strike a balance between playing basketball and modeling.
He eventually started writing songs and formed a local rap group. For his rapping career, he chose to go by the name ‘Sheck Jesus.’ By then he had befriended Mohamed Bamba, who would later become a popular basketball player. They both played basketball together and Sheck started spending much of his time playing the sport. However, he never quite wanted to play in the ‘NBA.’
When he was 16 years old, Sheck was selected to model for Kanye West’s clothing line. But the fashion show was scheduled on a day when he had to play an important basketball game. Sheck chose to take part in the fashion show, which took place in New York’s ‘Madison Square Garden.’ His decision cost him his place in the basketball team.
By the time he was 17 years old, he had started making music full-time. His mother was constantly worried about him getting into bad company. Hence, she sent him to Senegal, a country on the African West-Coast. She wanted him to become an ardent Muslim by following the path laid by her ancestors.
On the contrary, Sheck’s stay in Senegal gave him enough time to focus on his songwriting skills. Though he was asked to spend a couple of years in Senegal, he returned to New York within just 100 days.
After returning to the United States, he became serious about making a career in music. Apart from rapping, he also started recording songs in his home. Sheck also began uploading his songs on social media platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud. Soon enough, his music became popular among music lovers, which increased his popularity. Simultaneously, several record labels started keeping close tabs on his journey.
One of the earliest songs that he recorded was ‘Live SheckWes Die SheckWes.’ After listening to the song, his friend Mohamed Bamba urged him to write a song about him. Sheck liked the idea and the song that resulted from Mohamed Bamba’s suggestion was titled ‘Mo Bamba.’ The song was produced by several small-time music producers. ‘Mo Bamba’ eventually became famous and Sheck decided to include it in his debut album ‘Mudboy.’
Before it was released through his debut album, ‘Mo Bamba’ had already become popular. Subsequently, several music labels approached Sheck to sign a deal. He was eventually signed to ‘GOOD Music’ and ‘Cactus Jack Records.’
His album ‘Mudboy’ was released in October 2018. It was released under three labels, namely ‘Cactus Jack Records,’ ‘GOOD Music,’ and ‘Interscope Records.’ Even before the release of ‘Mudboy,’ his song ‘Mo Mamba’ had become viral and had entered many music charts. It received appreciation from the critics as well.
Most of the songs from his album ‘Mudboy’ narrated the story of his life in New York. Also, few verses were written in his native language, ‘Wolof.’ The album peaked in the top 20 of ‘Billboard 200.’ Other popular songs from the album are ‘Jiggy on the Shits’ and ‘Gmail.’
Family & Personal Life
Kanye West has always played a major role in Sheck’s life. Sheck considered Kanye as his idol during his growing up days. Also, Sheck’s biggest modeling assignment was for Kanye’s clothing line. Not surprisingly, Sheck draws inspiration from Kanye West’s music. Sheck once said that he wants Kanye to be more involved in his professional life as he has been signed to Kanye’s ‘GOOD Music’ label.
Sheck had nothing to do with religion until his visit to Senegal where his family had requested an Islamic scholar to spend time with him. During his stay in Senegal, Sheck learned about his religion and became receptive to Islamic values and ethics.
Sheck’s energy and enthusiasm when playing music on stage has had many comparing him to Travis Scott. Sheck learned to play the piano on his own.
Sheck has a supportive family. His cousin Staisha Copeland is known for supporting him during his national and local concerts.