Familiarize yourself with Sheck Wes, the latest signee to Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack imprint on Good Music. The twenty-one year old New Yorker is only the second rapper to join Travis’ label group, his predecessor being none other than Smokepurrp. With his singles “Live SheckWes Die SheckWes” and “Mo Bamba” dropping last year, his rise to stardom has progressed at a breakneck pace. As a result, it’s not hard to imagine many listeners wondering who the heck Sheck Wes might be. If you count yourself among them, here are five bits of information that might help widen the scope of your perception.


He’s A Former Model

One of Sheck’s previous hustles was working as a male model at various fashion events, a surprisingly frequent gig now for aspiring musicians in the 21st century. Given the increasing amount of rappers-turned-models, it's not entirely an unprecedented pursuit; still, considering Sheck’s status as an up-and-comer,  it’s surprising how readily the fashion industry was willing to embrace him. While he previously joked about “making more money than his teachers” upon pursuing the vocation, it appears he’s called it quits - at least for now.

Perhaps he’ll continue to make appearances on runways, or one day attempt running his own clothing line. Certainly he’s hanging out with the sort of rappers who are known to consider those pastimes rather seriously.


He’s Of Senegalese Descent

Sheck Wes takes great pride in his heritage, speaking openly about his family’s emigration from Senegal, as well as his time spent in Africa as both a child and an adult. African slang riddles his conversations with the press, and naming his song “Mo Bamba” after the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick is a proud homage toward a fellow African up-and-comer. It’s unclear whether his pride will result in any nods to African music the way other rappers like Jidenna or Wale have attempted before him, but in any case, Sheck’s heritage remains an important part of his identity.


He’s Harlem Based

Since the arrival of The A$AP Mob, the section of NYC that previously produced talents like Diddy, Ma$e, Cam’ron, Big L and more has remained unfortunately quiet. Enter Sheck Wes, the most recent rising star to emerge out of Harlem in a minute. Will anybody else be accompanying him as he makes his name heard? Hard to say. But given his particular stylistic flair and his over-the-top personality, he feels like a long overdue update on that Harlem cornerside swagger.


He’s An Eccentric

Based on his videos and interviews, it’s clear that Sheck has a complex, imaginative mind. Cut from the same cloth as Redman or Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Sheck manages to stand out amidst the eclectic cast of 2018 hip-hop "characters." Unlike Sheck, however, many lack the personality or style to double down and make themselves constantly feel entertaining. Perhaps once we get a real body of work from Sheck Wes, we’ll be blessed with additional antics that don’t simply revolve around media mischief.


He’s Played Kanye West In Basketball

Given his link to both the fashion and music industries, it makes sense that Sheck Wes would eventually cross paths with Kanye West. After all, he has enough mutual connections, like his current label head Travis Scott and Ian Connor. Not only that, but Sheck Wes holds a particular badge of honor - the young rapper actually played Kanye West in a basketball game.

In describing Kanye’s skill on the court to Zane Lowe, Sheck was very complimentary to Mr. West; given his own aptitude as a collegiate basketball player (another career he gave up for rapping), perhaps that can viewed beyond an amateur opinion. No matter what happens in his future, you could at least argue that he’s been able to socialize with one of the greats in a way most of us have probably never imagined.