2020 has been a crusher of a year for the music industry, but for the independent artists who have persevered through the difficulties, rewards are starting to roll in. Enter HEwas, a performer who released his first single “Lemon” over the summer to critical acclaim and returns to the spotlight this December with a new track in “Wholething (ft. Afroman)” that has the potential to attract an even greater buzz. Forget the fact that he was able to secure someone like Afroman coming down to the studio to collaborate on this song; in “Wholething,” HEwas starts to sound a lot more like a boss pop musician than he does an indie up and comer, which is usually something that happens amidst a second album (as opposed to a second single).
Not many would have been able to get someone as iconic as the feature here involved for a rookie follow-up like this release, but once these two got into the studio, it’s clear sparks were flying and the right choices had been made. Afroman’s singular sting is on fire in this performance beside HEwas, whole elaborate approach is so colorful that it at times seems like the perfect yin to the former’s yang. The mixing is so tight that we’re able to appreciate the elements of detail tying everything together in the music and lyrics here, but more important than this, we’re never subjected to the tininess of a cheap sample, as so many other mainstream singles have forced us to endure lately.
“Wholething” boasts a much more album-oriented style of songwriting that is progressive and unique for the kind of single it’s been utilized for, but this only tells me that HEwas is already getting restless with this sort of project. The collaboration is a health muscle flex, don’t get me wrong, but it just seems silly to delay an LP beyond the spring of 2021. He’s got too much of a natural emotionality to his execution to deny the world a full-length collection of material like this and “Lemon,” and personally, I don’t know that he’s going to face a strong enough competition to remain on the outside of the hotshot charts in the next year either. This guy is ready, and that’s obvious even at a distance.
Demonstrating both experimental tendencies I want to hear more of and a love for the simplistic hip-hop charisma of a bygone era I’m pretty sure all of us miss, HEwas is well on his way to the top with “Wholething.” “Lemon” set the bar, but this raises it all the more for his brand as he looks to expand into unknown territories sooner than later. Afroman is the right kind of influence to have around in the studio at this moment in his life, and regardless of what this collaboration does financially, I think it will eventually be the cornerstone of a proper chapter in his career mainstream critics will not be able to stay away from for very long.