The new single from HEwas & Afroman, “Wholething” is an killer, dissonant mixture of old-school 90s West Coast R&B (think Luniz’s ‘I Got 5 On It’) with the more uncanny, irreverent kind of rap artists are experimenting with today, ranging from anything such as LMFAO to Juice Wrld. The song’s musical and lyrical roots also seem to owe a great deal to Snoop Dogg, the latter having jumpstarted the Jeff Spicoli-like sub-genre it clearly pulls inspiration from. The creators seem like they are having fun, and depending on your taste and musical preferences, you will too.
HEwas & Afroman both rap and sing the lyrics in purposefully slow, relaxed diction. They’re not interested in being hard-hitting as they are in providing an entertaining listening experience. The track almost could be considered something of a sardonic, lightweight love song if it weren’t for lyrics like ‘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,’ rapped with deadpan cadence and a I don’t give an F attitude by Afroman.
You can listen to “Wholething” on Amazon Music
The song pure and simple is about sex and hedonism, and the guys making the music aren’t afraid to simply come out and say it. Add to that the lush, hypnotic ambience in the background. It isn’t designed to be musical or sound ‘good’, but the vibrations and uneven sounding, old-school synthesized effects make you think of heavy wool sweaters and the aroma of weed coming out of a Jeep buzzing through Venice Beach and Downtown LA.
Contemporary rap is a continuously evolving animal. Many of the old greats complain about its lack of substance and legitimacy next to icons such as Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., NWA, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and even celebrities as recent as Eminem. In many ways, rap was an underdog genre in the early years of its inception, something Christian groups, the far-right, and so-called ‘conservative’ parents and watchdog groups attempted to censor. The general outlook was rap was a corrupting influence, a glamorization of a life of drugs, violence, crime, sex, and depravity. As Ice Cube once famously said in opposition to censorship, ‘Our art is a reflection of our humanity’.
But twenty plus years later, with the genre not only influencing artists far and wide but contemporarily becoming one of the biggest American staples, the source material powering rap has started to shift. Artists are singing about more mundane topical affairs, causing a sense of normalization to enter the fold. Hence the significance of what songs like “Wholething” represents. HEwas and Afroman aren’t singing about rugged, stripped subjects many could find controversial. They’re simply singing about getting a date. The picture they paint is far more universal than what the old guard depicted, and in the process far more relatable on an everyday scale.