NBA Name-Drop: Sheck Wes’ ‘Mo Bamba’ Still Sits High on Billboard Chart
It’s not every day that a rookie comes into the NBA with a hit hip-hop track behind him. But the Harlem connection between rapper Sheck Wes and Orlando Magic big man Mo Bamba was (and is) special enough to launch the former toward hip-hop stardom, and put the latter on the cultural map with the track “Mo Bamba.”
Since the song's release in June 2017, it's amassed more than 56 million plays on SoundCloud and upwards of 129 million on YouTube, and remains in the top five of Billboard's "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs" chart at the start of 2019.
Like Mo, Sheck (born Khadimou Rassoul Cheikh Fall) was born to West African parents and grew up playing basketball in New York City. But while Sheck didn’t develop his friend’s prodigious height, length and all-around skill set, he still managed to go viral with a song that took just 20 minutes to record before it was posted to SoundCloud—and that made Mo a household name while the now-20-year-old was still a freshman at the University of Texas.
I be ballin' like a mo'fuckin' pro (like a, huh, like a, huh)
I be ballin' like my n---a Mo (Bamba, bitch)
Sheck Wes, I ain’t a mo'fuckin' joke (haha, hahahahaha)
The song landed Sheck a joint recording deal with Kanye West and Travis Scott’s labels, and got him on stage with Drake in Toronto.
Mo, meanwhile, has carved out a modest but impactful role as Nikola Vucevic’s backup at center in Orlando. Through his first 35 games, the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft has averaged 6.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 16.7 minutes per game.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.