WHOLEthing’ by HEwas and Afroman
With their new single, ‘WHOLEthing’, HEwas and Afroman advise one to do everything your self-respecting mother would balk at in one breath. The song is shamelessly about juggling relationships, ghosting, casual sex, and excess hedonism. The song’s goofy, dissonant synthesized sequences and casual, matter-of-fact ambience more than drive the point home. It’s almost excessive when Afroman’s relaxed, deadpan cadence manifests 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. These guys are out to have fun, make a song that’s fun, and talk about how dating is fun…until it isn’t. There’s something nice about the relaxed, superficial nature of the song – completely lacking in personal responsibility and painting a portrait of a sexually anarchistic lifestyle.
HEwas and Afroman complement each other with their juxtaposing vocals, HEwas singing with a sort of fashionably in emo machismo reminiscent of artists like Mike Posner and Adam Levine, while Afroman raps with a soft, cigarette-tinged voice that isn’t abrasive or hard-hitting. As a result, the song has an almost hypnotic quality with its I don’t give a damn attitude, soothingly ambient synths, and the way HEwas and Afroman dance around each other’s strong sets. It’s reminiscent of a new kind of rap, an everyday kind of R&B. It’s still respectful of the old guard, in this case West Coast-style, while allowing different kinds of lyrical content, sounds, and approaches artistically to flourish. The result is a continuous, ever-evolving medium which breeds and cultivates musical diversity, ranging from anything close to HEwas and Afroman’s performative styles to the more esoteric natures of artists like Frank Ocean and Lakeith Stanfield.
Afroman brings a particular panache to the track, given his style and background in the rap world. In many ways, he’s a lighter presence than other peers in the genre, coming from a more user-friendly, Snoop Dogg kind of place where all things weed and hashish reign supreme. After all, Afroman’s second album was aptly titled Because I Got High, the titular song subsequently nominated for a Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2002. Newcomer HEwas proves a worthy companion, the latter’s musical performance adding a slight bit of gravity to the otherwise superficial and fun-loving piece. His high-pitched, quavering vocals at once communicate a sort of anguish which makes the song more varied and twitchy in its entirety. The contrast between the two voices almost makes you think of the flickering dissonance of a TV’s malfunctioning screen, the song purposefully going off-key multiple times seeming to support said dissonance. The whole thing therefore isn’t just some rumination of a stoner or swinger ghosting girls, it’s a layered and well-crafted song to listen to on a Friday night – stuck in traffic or in the darkness of your college dorm. The shamelessness of the whole thing only further compliments the aesthetic of the experience. Sometimes, it’s possible to be quality and have fun…