Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
BandHip Hop


Like most kids in his native town of Charlotte, North Carolina, Leroy Shingu had a head filled with hip-hop dreams growing up, even trying his hand at freestyling when he was all of nine years old. But a trying background starkly different from the blissful suburban reality of his peers would compel the rapper better known as Well$ to turn that childhood fantasy into a promising career as a rapper.

Quietly released in 2012, $ay La V, Well$’ debut EP rose steadily on the Bandcamp charts to peak at number 5 and eventually become the most downloaded album in the Charlotte area. This remarkable ascent as well as the video for the song “State of Ecstasy The Interlude Part 1″ hauled Well$ out of virtual anonymity, and shoved him onto high profile stage performances with artists such as G-Eazy, Chris Webby, Johnny Polygon, and one of his idols, Pac Div. Well$’s forthcoming mixtape, MTSYD: Revenge of The African Booty Scratcher, drops in February 2014.

“Proud To Be An American, one of Well$’ standout tracks off $ay La V, is the assured declaration of a young man who has come to terms with his identity and adopted home, flaws and all. Yet it wasn’t always this way. Born in the US to Congolese illegal immigrants, Well$ has encountered the ins and outs of America’s legal system for as long as he can remember. What started as a routine police search ended with his mother serving a six-month jail stint, when it emerged that she was in the country undocumented. Left mostly in the care of a grandmother who barely speaks English, Well$’ teenage life slowly spiraled downwards into delinquency. Dabbling in car theft, drug dealing and eventually dropping out of high school caused his concerned mother to ship him off to New Orleans to stay with his cousin Alec Lomami in the hope that he could steer him back on to the straight and narrow. Lomami (nowadays producer and Immaculate Taste label owner) averted Well$’ focus to music as a means to channel his feelings of angst and isolation. In 2010 the two of them began work in earnest on Well$’ debut, marking the turning point for him.

Well$’ next offering, MTSYD: Revenge of The African Booty Scratcher, slated for a May 2014 release, is a wry nod to the ethnic shaming he experienced as a child. “Growing up with a last name like mine, I got called African booty scratcher. My parents got made fun of when they came to my school but I learned to appreciate my origin. Me and my lil brother are the only Americans in my house so I grew up around French, Lingala, Kitetela, and I’m finally able to take proud ownership of my origin.”

On the forthcoming album, fatherhood is one of many subjects that Well$ explores, himself a father to a three-year-old. The lead single “Black Swan” explores the life choices of a young woman affected by an absent father. Elsewhere, on “Major Pain,” Well$ walks in the shoes of his own imperfect dad. In “Dreams of an Insomniac,” Well$ stands on the edge of a cliff and meticulously lays out fears of flying – those pesky “what if” questions that keep him up at night.

The rare and commendable honesty Well$ displays comes from his admiration of the now era rap stars that Well$ grew up listening to, like Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, Pac Div, and more. “Their music came out at a pivotal point in my life,” says Well$ of the aforementioned rappers, “and helped me see that it was cool to just be me and rap about my story.”



MTSYD: The Revenge Of The African  Booty Scratcher

EPs :

$ay La V


State Of Ecstasy Pt. 2