With the initial singles that dropped from Wes, it was easy to see the approach that the Harlem born-and-raised artist would use. Almost like a maniacal Sun Tzu, MUDBOY shatters the backboard and the expectations for Wes, allowing for full, creative distance from the normality’s of a debut record. He is loud, abrasive, and ultimately one of the first fire starters that open for Playboi Carti, which is where Sheck Wes made his first contact in a live setting. He was able to conquer the microphone even with his short list of tracks and ultimately found success in the way that he could keep all eyes on him. Even as he would rap until he was out of breath; Wes proved that this was a young man’s game and everyone would have to watch.
MUDBOY is a similar instance that works in his favor to keep the attention on him and even as the singles are the best part of the album from “Mo Bamba”, “Live Sheck Wes” or “Chippi Chippi”; there are still reasons to come back to the record. With booming tracks that use the 808 bass to the manipulation of the audience with “Gmail” or “Kyrie” to the more brake-driven, more humanistic tracks like “Never Lost”, “Danimals”, and “Vetements Socks”. Harlem never seemed so clean as the epicenter of most iconic rappers, Sheck Wes should be proud to be added to the list but there are some shortcomings of MUDBOY as well.
There are no features which from a fan of Sheck Wes this is perfect, it allows the attention to be entirely on Wes without any disruption. This is also one of the problems however as Sheck Wes does not have this amazing scale of adaptability that can work to fill an entire album. It feels consistent throughout and with little variation besides the occasional haltered jam here and there. For the most part, MUDBOY is a quick, straightforward arrow that strikes in a painless sort of way. It does not challenge the listener or create this moments of awe-inspiring wonder though.
Instead, Sheck Wes is a thankful addition to the booming bass hits and screams of the style of rap today. He is not reaching even close to his peak and that is exciting to see where his career can lead to. As of today however, MUDBOY is a slug fest of fantastic and energetic fun that does not last too long or drag. It could use a feature or two though.