Though some critics will tell you that the best pop and hip-hop tracks are shaped by the lyrical strength, I’ve never been much of a believer in this for one reason – establishing a mood in any genre is so much harder than that. Take HEwas’ new single “Wholething” with Afroman; a track that, for all intents and purposes, has a set of killer verses anybody could have made stylish in the right setting. Instead of giving us a straightforward execution in this song, both HEwas and Afroman readjust their joint approach to make something far more cerebral and cutting, defining their music more with persona than poetry alone.
These guys aren’t satisfied with using words as their lone outlet of communication by any means; instead, the percussion and a rolling synth track in the foreground are responsible for structuring a lot of the sophisticated tone that surrounds the lyrics here. HEwas is definitely a little more fragile than I was expecting him to be, but this exposed sensibility is still something I think he should try to revisit the next time he’s in the studio producing some fresh beats. This has moments of feeling like more of a sampler than a serious single, but in the best way I can think of.
The bass here is a little big for my taste, but the synths luckily keep it in check to such a degree that it never starts to become a drag on either vocalist’s delivery. Afroman is particularly clandestine in his performance, but it’s a look he’s always worn better than most anyone else in the game. There’s no mistaking the connection he and HEwas have with their medium in “Wholething,” and moreover, the storyline they’re both working to create in this monster of a collaborative project.
I will say that the percussion really isn’t as loud as I would have liked it to be in this single, but I can also understand the concept this sort of an angle adheres to. While not totally postmodern pop, it’s a surreal addition to the song that definitely makes it mesh with some of the other melodic hip-hop hybrid-type content I’ve been hearing more and more of in 2020, without sounding like an actual ‘in’ to the market. HEwas is thinking out his career moves carefully, and this is something I think will benefit his future quite a bit.
I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this player in 2020 since he released “Lemon,” and with the arrival of “Wholething” I really can’t wait to see what a HEwas LP is going to look and sound like. Afroman scores big in his collaborative role here, and if there’s a way to get him back into the studio for another joint cut in the future, I don’t think HEwas would be doing himself any favors to reject the opportunity. I like the way this story is starting to unfold, and after hearing his music for yourself, I think you’re going to share my sentiments.