East Palo Alto’s own Hefna Gwap is an interesting, rising artist right now. For one, I can’t even really remember the last rapper from E.P.A. that I’ve heard, other than the not-so-well known Chunk (1992). Two, Hefna doesn’t sound like your typical Bay Area artist at all, which should make his music a lot more accessible to an online audience. While he definitely makes a load of references to the Bay and its music, he’s definitely not a mobb artist nor a HBK rip off — his sound is completely different than what the area has produced in recent years, which makes me wonder who he’s listening to. Just curious.
East Palo Alto (E.P.A.) is a solid mixtape. With a majority of the production being handled by either EPMDenny and Lord Plawz, the beats on here are cohesive without ever becoming stale. Although a lot of the attention on this tape is going to be focused on Hefna’s performance, the production is just as important on this tape because it really helps build the Hefna Gwap persona; it helps him craft/distinguish himself even further as an artist, making E.P.A. all the more memorable.
Hefna Gwap may not (yet) be the most polished rapper out right now, but he’s definitely one of the more interesting artists out right now. The way he approaches tracks is unpredictable, but it’s not like he’s freestyling his way through tracks; it’s all a calculated madness that, at times, can remind me a bit of Schoolboy Q or even a Kendrick. Hefna has stories and concepts to share, but his main draw on this tape is his style, which isn’t as big of a prodblem as some would figure.
Hefna Gwap seems to be branching out right now, trying to hustle his way into something big. Between making music, touring on the Smokers Club, having his own Elegant Caviar clothing line/website, I can’t imagine any other artist that seems more poised to make some big waves in the near future. I can see Hefna Gwap being the Bay Area’s ASAP Rocky, in the sense that I can really see him catching a big online following before he gets any mainstream appeal — and I’m talking about something more similar to a Rocky rather than a Main Attrakionz.