HEwas and Afroman stylistically prove an interesting musical duo. On the one hand, they couldn’t be more different in their approaches to the new single ‘Wholething’, self-released by HEwas on his Spotify page. On the other, however, such differences only add a multi-layered dissonance to the track that elevates it from its otherwise superficial and some could say shameless thematic roots. ‘Wholething’ chronicles a swinger’s repeated ghosting of a desperate third-wheel, the lyrics both evocative in painting said picture in distinctly honest, relatable terms while also brazenly dissing the latter in decidedly un-PC fashion. HEwas’s high-pitched, emo machismo vocals grace the beginning of the song, followed by sentiments calmly expressed by Afroman such as You’re not my spouse, spend a couple nights this week at your house. I’m bluffing my face, I’m riding my ride. Stop trying to FaceTime – all the time to You know I got high with my homey HEwas, she was a sexual plus now she just a hangover begging so I felt like a king until she blew in the hole.
Musically the song samples various synths and ambient sound effects, sometimes purposefully putting one or another off-key. The result is an evocation of someone’s consciousness being altered by weed, the image coming to mind consisting of a room starting to swirl in a circular motion. This is helped by the repeated contrasts between the way HEwas and Afroman perform – the latter is cool, calm, and collected. His vocals sport a refreshing irreverence and are distinctly soft and relaxing to listen to. HEwas’s voice quavers and cracks, every time he’s off-note adding a giddy intensity to the track whether he means to or not. As a result the song, regardless of its lyrical content, has a slightly unnerving aspect to it. The kind of element that enables you to lazily enjoy the track as a whole but is stimulating enough that you still listen up.
Rap today is not what it was yesterday. Particular contrast such as HEwas and Afroman prove the genre is getting distinctly more experimental and more creative. There’s also starting to be a typicality to the songwriting, a sense of exploring more universal and mundane content that has enabled there to a place for said artists and rappers who sing less about the hood or gangs and more about girls, breakups, juggling, and even getting their hearts broken. Things on their face once considered distinctly ‘uncool’ now are getting the ‘cool treatment’ – prominent musicians and entertainers exploring newfound avenues and thematic venues previously unattainable or career-ending in their implications.
All in all, it will be fun to hear what comes of more collaborations between HEwas and Afroman as a performative duo. While the song isn’t perfect in terms of execution the pacing is solid, the vocal contrasts raise it to new levels, and its sense of fun and irreverence doesn’t ever cease to delight.
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