Meaning of “Mo Bamba” by Sheck Wes

American rapper Sheck Wes’ international hit song known as “Mo Bamba” is named after the American professional basketball player Mohamed Bamba. The “Mo” in the song’s title stands for “Mohamed” and of course the “Bamba” stands for his surname.

The song’s lyrics are based on the childhood the track’s artist (Wes) and Bamba shared together on the streets of New York. The lyrics of “Mo Bamba” use  Bamba’s ascension to a professional athlete as a standard by which Wes compares his own success.

What has Sheck Wes said about this track?

Wes said the song was birthed while he was freestyling on a beat created by A Day Trip and 16yrold. According to him, his friend Mo Bamba had earlier asked him to use his name in the song. So while freestyling he began to talk about how he’s just as cool as his buddy Mo Bamba.

“I be ballin’ like my ni**a Mo (Bamba, Bamba)”

The song came out somewhere in June 2017 and took no time becoming an international phenomenon – in many ways even more popular than Bamba himself. Below are some more interesting facts related to this unique track!

Facts about “Mo Bamba”

  • Sheck Wes and Bamba actually grew up and played basketball together in Harlem, a section of Manhattan, New York.
  • This single was released on 16 June 2017 three record labels including Interscope and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music.
  • “Mo Bamba” is the ninth track off of Sheck’s debut album MUDBOY, which was released on 5 October 2018, over a year after the track’s initial release.
  • This track charted in a number of countries, including the United States, Slovakia and Greece. On the UK Singles Chart, “Mo Bamba” peaked at number 80. However, on the US Billboard Hot 100, it fared better, peaking at number 21.
  • Despite this song’s success, as of 2018, Wes disclosed that he was still living in the housing projects reserved for low-income families in Harlem, New York where he grew up.
  • This track was produced by producers 16yrold and Take A Daytrip. The latter is actually a DJ/production duo made up of David Biral and Denzel Baptiste.
  • Most of the vocals on this track were recorded in one take, on a faulty laptop. Denzel Baptiste (the other half of Take A Daytrip) revealed this to the The New York Times during an interview.

Does “Mo Bamba” have a music video?

Yes. The clip was directed by Wes himself along with two others. It was released on Wes’ YouTube channel on January 30, 2018. The video was shot in black and white.

And by the way, the video was shot in one of the roughest communities of NYC. According to Wes, he chose that part of NYC to shoot the video because he grew up there.


Who is Mo Bamba?

It is the nickname of professional basketball player Mohamed Bamba. Bamba’s full name is Mohamed Karlakwan Damala Bamba. He was born in 1998 in New York to a pair of immigrant parents from Ivory Coast. Bamba played college basketball for The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Longhorns. His professional career began in 2018 when he joined the Orlando Magic. Bamba and Wes grew up together in Harlem, New York. Their relationship was the inspiration behind this song.



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