Hefe Heetroc is not a new artist to us here at AAHH; though we’re familiar with him, it’s always been in smaller, manageable doses of artistic output. Alienz & Conspiracies box set is his ambitious new release that — if we’re honest — we were slower to jump on. Not for lack of interest, but rather out of intimidation of its length (it’s 33 songs).
“My dream was always to have a box set,” Hefe admits to AAHH. “I thought a theme compilation boxset consisting of a hybrid of an experimental trap, emo, with ‘3rd eye woke’ lyrics could work.” The elephant in the room — which he points out to us — is that box sets generally aren’t themed experiences, but rather compilations or anthologies of music.
“A friend observed that my older music was all aliens and my newer stuff was all conspiracy theories, a lightbulb popped into my head of not only the title but the theme.”
Though the lengthy affair does have some overlap, such a clips of his songs being played/broke on WRIU FM, and what feels like reworkings throughout the tracklist, there are some gems. Staying heavily thematic throughout, the project is a really complex blend of styles and intriguing writing elements. The delivery, however, is eclectic in nature ranging from easy to follow, to what borders on slam poetry, to distorted and obscured to the point that dissecting becomes a bit labored of an experience.
The songs that are more straightforward — concerning its approach and flow — like all three parts of “Do U,” “Shroomz,” and “Global Economics” all (tbh) show Hefe at his best. Even if you disagree, you can’t argue it’s his most approachable. His wordplay and content are all fascinating stuff; peep the bars on “Global Economics,” and even the really dope “Lemon Yellow Sun.” It has this KRS-esque level of actual knowledge injected. We’re talking like keep Wikipedia open and get lost in research type bars. “Truth 2 Be” is another excellent example.
“Bravo Tango” is a big record we found ourselves revisiting a few times; what stands out is his cadence, which seems like a warm blend of Madchild and Vinnie Paz, that hugs beats and ride them like Cadillac with the top down on a warm LA night.
He takes on this alternate persona throughout the collection of music of 27 Savage, which he unleashes on songs like “Rap-tilian,” “The Awakening.” While ok in doses, the raspy almost whispery flow does make the potency of some of his bars harder to follow. The same issue presents itself when his instrumental choices become more abstract on songs like “Alien Sky,” with it’s glitchy slightly off/beat delivery that is still contextually strong, but a more frustrating listen.
“On all the conspiracy theory tracks my goal was to try a new poetic device, metaphors, allegories, iambic pentåmeter, and golden and silver lines,” he tells us. “I wanted to try a new poetic device out of my comfort zone.”
As he explains, he used the William S Burroughs cut n paste technique on all his songs that deal with conspiracy theories. It’s this deep level of thought that went into the project that definitely necessitates the need for some context to accompany it, as the behind the scenes details often get lost during musical experiments. Much in the same way, it may be hard for a consumer to wrap their minds around the cost associated with wallpaper that is hand printed, as it closely resembles manufactured work for a fraction of the cost.
That though should never be a deterrent for a true artist, and this collection has this niche feeling to it — Hefe’s artistic merit shines through, like that of an MF DOOM offshoot project like Viktor Vaughn.
Overall though, the project is an obvious labor of love and an example of calculated experimentation. Songs like “Talk 2 Loud” where the premise is that he’s being followed/tapped by the Illuminati as he attempts to pull listeners out of the matrix lyrically are among the various examples of his willingness to commit — reminiscent of a late 90s Kool Keith.
Though the message may get a little muddied at times as he leads listeners on a sonically diverse experience, which could best be described as a rabbit hole—hearing some of his more approachable material having bomb sound effects dropped on them during radio sets shows that he is in fact on a sustainable path, should he choose to lather a little more mainstream gloss on his material.
It’s the age-old concept of the iceberg, which we only asses based on the tip that pops of out the water. This box set is the same thing — but instead of an iceberg, it’s an underground bunker built by a man willing to take you on a journey should you take the right pill.
It’s worth tackling.