Hefe Heetroc: “The Julie Project” – distinctive, diverse, and consistent

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Justin Bacik aka Hefe Heetroc aka Wez Nilez aka 27 SAVAGE was born in Rochester, NY. Hefe Heetroc has been in the underground hip hop game for a long time under various guises. If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because he remains within his boundaries. He produces, raps and does basically everything related to his single, EP, album, and now mixtape releases. He is constantly roaming the underground telling tales, searching for the perfect beat, and much more. His latest release “The Julie Project ” does stray far away from his homegrown recipe and moves him out from the shadows to another road. Each song contains fragments of gritty hip hop, one of a kind beats and back-flipping vocals.  But the mixtape is most powerful in its circumscribed accessibility. It is a true sign that Hefe Heetroc needs to be heard. The only thing is that you must travel within his mindset to fully understand what he is telling you. To do that you need to know how the mixtape came about. Who better than Heetroc himself can elaborate the “The Julie Project” concept?

“This mixtape was an exercise in experimentation, my business partner of my studio ‘Whyte Wulf Studios’ made an off handed comment, that I should record a trap album under the moniker 27 SAVAGE,” explains Heetroc. The album made an impact on both the local and regional charts on Reverbnation, which persuaded Hefe to further develop the project.

“The lyrics for this project were a collection of material written in Los Angeles & New Mexico, respectively,” continues Heetroc. “Some of it written in hotels with seedy females, some in a shit hole of a slumlord styled room in the seedier parts of LA. This really was the perfect opportunity to try and test out a new sound.”

Hefe Heetroc calls the genre he is doing on the mixtape -“Alien Emo Trap”. The recording consists of remixes to original beats he created himself. It is a good introduction to Heetroc’s complex personality. His lyrics are both diverse, intriguing and cryptic and his self-produced beats are the perfect evidence that he spends a lot of time twisting them.

It’s pure love for an art form that has been growing steadily in the last few years. The state of hip-hop the general public know of is pretty terrible. It’s lost the substance and originality that it thrived off of in the earlier days, which is why people are thankful for the underground.

Hefe Heetroc falls perfectly into this latter group, because the title alone oozes imagery, the instruments matter just as much as the lyrics, plus I don’t know any other rappers this left-field. Hell, just look at the album artwork you wouldn’t guess he could have belonged in this genre, never mind excel in it.

Lyrically, a lot of the songs sound like Heetroc is free styling on the spot, giving the tracks an immediacy. Another interesting thing about these songs is that if you listen to them, they sound like hip hop, but if you just read the lyrics they could belong to rock, punk or any other genre for that matter.

Heetroc delves in the depths of experimental music with his newest release and assembles a mixture of strange, quirky, and uncomfortable songs that will challenge the listener.  One thing is evident when it comes to Heetroc and his prosperous underground career; the man has truly grown up through his music and performances.

Some of this verification is extremely obvious on the exterior; his voice has gone from intense cadences to nuanced pulsated tempos. But this maturing, inside Hefe Heetroc’s mind, body and soul, has made a truly diverse sound in the world of hip-hop today.

“The Julie Project” is an avant-garde release for Heetroc but with this motion forward in his music, Hefe has dug deep to surpass some of his previous work and efforts. With even better storytelling and caustic observation, the 10 tracks on this mixtape is a true depiction of the artist’s approach and passion to hip-hop and commitment to its progression.

Looking at each track hardly makes sense, because what Hefe has done is not your regular album or mixtape, but a revitalization of the game and its culture into something beyond the realm of its borders.

He has created a fresh and innovative record full of transitioned production and picturesque lyricism with plenty of recurring and repetitive motifs that will boggle your brain. It’s distinctive, diverse, consistent, and feels oddly timeless in its weirdness. And that is Hefe Heetroc’s true gift in today’s underachieved world of hip-hop.

Essential listening: “The Awakening”, “Unstoppable”, “It’s A Lie”, “Feelin The Vibe”


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