HEwas and Afroman Join Forces for New Single

Lyrical substance only matters when you’re working with a good delivery, but fortunately for the new single “Wholething,” HEwas and Afroman are here to make an otherwise simple pop tune sound like an identity-affirming statement of self. A collaboration between a young buck and an old pro, HEwas’ “Wholething” demonstrates an A-lister presence you just can’t fake in any capacity, and though there have been a lot of interesting rappers and singers rising up the ranks thanks to an unusually silent concert circuit and staggering output in the studio, his is still a one of a kind talent.

One of the most intriguing elements of this track has nothing to do with the two players it features, but the means of which it’s pushing their core talents to the surface of the mix. This song is loud n’ proud when it comes to the synth components it supports, but it somehow manages to circumvent virtually every pitfall associated with overindulgence by throwing itself into the grey area between surrealism and psychedelic pop. This is very much a bastion of modern hip-hop reimagined with more of a focus on harmony than anything else, but no matter how you dice it aesthetically, it’s a pop single you won’t be able to put down this December. 

I listened to the first single HEwas dropped since getting into professional music back in May, titled “Lemon,” and though it was six months ago much of the track’s layered vocal structure has stuck with me in the time that’s gone by. To a large extent, this song doesn’t let him be quite as aggressive with his vocal, but instead creates a deliberate pacing with the verses that forces him to pump the brakes and leave space enough for Afroman to do his thing. The cadence is off, uneven and intentionally shaken to give us a feeling of overlapping rhythm; the result of this experiment being that the lyrics become the only constant point of consistency here. The compositional approach to the beat is, overall, pretty minimalistic and it doesn’t need to be anything more – with the kind of synth parts we’re getting out of “Wholething” from one end to another, a bigger role for the drums was essentially out of the question before it could even be suggested. 

There are literally hundreds of singles from artists mainstream and indie alike that I review every year, but “Wholething” is absolutely one of the most unique and evocative sophomore cuts I’ve heard in 2020 from either side of the dial. HEwas is rolling like a gangster in this song by sticking back from the flames and letting his collaborator in Afroman stoke the fire pendulously – it takes some self-control, but what he does here is golden for those who like pop as much as they do a melodic rap track. There’s still more ground for this young man to cover in the years ahead, but for now I would put him at the top of his class for sure. 

Michael Rand 

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