HAF – Genesis – EP Review
“How can I be negative when life is fuckin’ lit?”
Good call homie. Right off the bat, I was digging the piano melody that started out HAF’s Genesis EP on the first cut “Life Story,” but it certainly went on to reveal a whole lot more worth listening to as well. “We all got our life story,” as HAF will tell you in the hooks of his opening track…and he’s right about that. In fact, when it comes to the Rap genre, it’s part of the main diet…it’s extremely rare at this point that you’ll hear an emcee tell you about something that’s not the tale of the grind they’ve been stuck in and how they plan to get out. So don’t get me wrong…to some degree, that’s an expected move and something I’d expect to hear somewhere along the lines of a Rap record from anyone put out in the modern era – but what clearly makes HAF a cut above the rest that have attempted this in the past (or very likely will in the future as well) is that connection to sincerity and genuine authenticity you can hear in this emcee. I don’t mind hearing a story that’s similar to something else as long as you’ve got that storyteller’s touch – that real understanding of what connects us to the emotion and tale we’re listening to – that’s where HAF is excelling. I think the hooks of this cut are extremely strong, I think that the connection you can hear between this emcee and his words is right there in the wide-open, honest, raw, and real – and that it’s because he’s willing to be so down-to-earth in his thoughts & share them with us, both the good & the bad, that I think people out there will really relate to & dig what he’s rapping about. “We all got our life story,” just like he says – but just like many of the details tend to crossover between our lives as we live them – we also share one experience overall, and it’s in hearing these similarities on display that remind us of that. It’s the courage of artists like HAF that are willing to put themselves out there with such personal insight & consideration of their words, that we realize many of us go through those struggles together, apart, and as one & the same…but also that we can rise above them to greater things. Lyrically, I think he’s done a great job on “Life Story” – he’s made this experience real, to all of us. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking, sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s desolate, sometimes it’s inspiring…HAF clearly understands the power of emotion and keeping it real when it comes to songwriting…and I like that this tale he spits & sings deals with a progression that goes from despair to hope by the end. There are multiple lines on “Life Story” that will clue you in to the fact that, for sure, HAF has spent a lot of time absorbed in his thoughts – and likely, not always good ones either – but there are tons of moments along the way through this song that point to a change in his mindset, a willingness to reach towards the positive – and it’s kind of just as you’re realizing this ultimate conclusion about HAF’s character where he starts to explain that very thing at the beginning of “Potion.”
This second cut has an excellent vibe to it…it’s heavier, more contemplative & melancholy overall when it comes to the thoughts being shared & spilled over the mic by HAF, but certainly another captivating cut when it comes to the overall sound. You are likely going to need a few spins at the very least to catch every word here…and in my opinion, HAF’s gonna have to potentially make some decisions when it comes to this aspect of his career and what kind of emcee he really wants to be. With the effects he uses on his vocals, you get a stylistically killer sound for sure…but at times, that effect when combined with his natural swagger on the mic, can result in something reallllllll close to mumble-rap at times. Now – I ain’t saying that it IS, and I ain’t saying there’s any shame in that game either…I’m not hatin’ on mumble like so many people out there tend to if they’re not completely in love with the genre – my point is that you can hear in the two surrounding cuts like “Life Story” and “Mistake” that this is an emcee that really has something to SAY. He writes some extremely brilliant lines…and there’s still definitely an argument to be made that the stylistic delivery & sound he adds to them enhances these words in many ways – I get that; all I’m saying is that ultimately, there’s a choice to be made as an artist in HAF’s future…as in, does he want to spend all this time writing words and then risking that people will even hear them? That’s one question…which…may/may-not even be a factor…like I said, you’ll hear you get more clarity vocally in just about every other cut on this record – because of the identifiable & signature flow he’s got goin’ on, it’ll take you a spin or two to get the rhythm of the cadence in his flow, but once you do, there’s no problem following along with him. I think there’s much more of an argument to ultimately be made for HAF just going for a slightly different approach to the vocals on “Potion” and work that vocal-melody into the music like it’s an instrument – and I dig that personally. And I ain’t gettin’ all old-man on ya…I’m not saying you can’t hear the words, you can, just probably a bit noticeably less by comparison to the rest of the cuts on this record, that’s all. Simply making an argument that he clearly puts the effort into his words…and at all costs, I think people should hear’em. In any event, for real, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here and reminding this dude there’s always several things to consider in how people hear things – facts are still facts, the vibe on “Potion” is one of the strongest on the record. For me, and for many of you I’m sure, it’s not always about catching every single word so much as it is about being able to hear the attitude, expression, mood, tone, and emotion that comes with a song…once you get your head & heart around the intentions of any cut, it’s much easier to then go right back in there and get to the main messages and meanings being spit on the m-i-c.
HAF does have a very identifiable sound & style though – and I really got love for that. Like, you’ll still hear those effects he loves to use on his vocals on “Mistake” as well, and it’s still likely gonna take a spin or two to catch all the words – but man, at the end of the day, the dude’s got bars and killer ideas for how to add melody into his hooks. He’s got that hazy delivery where the lyrics are basically falling right off his bottom lip, not always worrying about the actual beginning or ending of each individual word he’s spittin’ and just letting that swagger & feeling dictate the vibe of the moment, feel me? It’s because of this that HAF can roll confidently from one word to the next, bar-to-bar, with a flow that never breaks. Even though he rips rhymes at a faster, sometimes blazing speed on “Mistake” in comparison to “Potion” – I think you’ll get what I mean more clearly by listening to the clarity in his words still coming through strongly here, even with the quickness & effects being applied. But make no mistake either, it’s the style & swagger that HAF brings to the mic that really does pull you in…so don’t get me wrong. LISTEN to the innovative way he raps through “Mistake,” showing that versatility & flexing that modern-day mix of R&B/Rap with professional moves & flawless transitions between rapping it up and singing it out. Melody plays such a massive role in his vocals and he executes on “Mistake” with impeccable precision; I’ve been impressed with each of the hooks I’ve heard on this record so far, but he undeniably takes it up a level, track-after-track when it comes to how powerfully those hooks come across in terms of accessibility. “Mistake” stands a massive chance of being people’s favorite on the Genesis EP – there’s a ton of me that would support the idea of this being the lead-single, HAF is killer on this cut.
In fact, there’s only one thing I’m sure is standing in the way of that…
“Boomerang Effect” could very well be my favorite of the bunch…and likely to be yours as well. Though I truly think HAF’s done a great job on all these tunes and I really like the personal direction that songs like “Life Story” and “Sometimes” put out there…beat-wise…I mean C’MON, this track is all extra, all day. I don’t need to tell him that, I don’t really need to tell you either – you listen to this cut and tell me you don’t want to turn it right the fuck up to the rafters and make this your personal anthem for the next five years! You know you do! “Boomerang Effect” is a fine example of absolutely everything going right for this emcee – he’s at his absolute best when a vibe consumes him like this – you can completely hear him feeling this moment 100% from his tone of voice and how much fire he brings to the mic on this cut. This is DEADLY on all-fronts – HAF has his boots on and he’s stompin’ through this track with epic authority, making his skills known and felt while surrounded by a MASSIVE beat that continually slays. I mean if we’re talking about immediate impact and accessibility – this cut is completely loaded with both…this is what 100% single-worthy sounds like. You get like, three seconds to chill, and then it’s ON. It’s time for HAF to serve up one of the most addictive cuts you’ll hear this year, no doubt – “Boomerang Effect” is fully-loaded entertainment from beginning to end once it kicks in, bringing in a gigantic low-end beat with a masterfully dominant performance from the main man in charge. For all of 2:16, you kind of have to marvel at just how massive of an impact a sound like this can make on ya; every moment of this song is so genuinely LARGE that it could stomp your speakers right out. A HUGE highlight on the Genesis EP and a track that will bring people back again & again to listen, “Boomerang Effect” is what it sounds like to be an emcee in full-effect y’all…HAF serves this up ice-cold for ya and proves beyond any doubt that this man can seriously bring it to the mic in powerful ways you’re guaranteed to remember.
That being said…as much as I like “Boomerang Effect” – I think it’s cuts like “Life Story” and the final track “Sometimes” that really show the maturity and perspective that come with this artist of the m-i-c, and I certainly wouldn’t want to push him away from making material like this. “Sometimes” is an incredibly strong ending to the Genesis EP…the isolated in-his-head vibe comes out so powerfully in the subtle sounds of this final tune that it feels like you’re right in there with him, trapped in his thoughts, emotions, and experiences. He has an exceptional way of putting out his own personal details in a way that truly resonates inside of us – a track like “Sometimes” is a track you can feel, because you know he does too. He’s reaching both into the past and looking forward on “Sometimes,” willing to acknowledge he’s been through those hard times and that they are still a part of him to this day, but that he’s got the ability to choose which direction he wants to go from here, each and every day. It ain’t always gonna be easy to stay on that positive path, that’s the nature of life…but he approaches all this from a very realistic perspective with the purest of intentions to find his way to that better life he’s searching for. It’s a subtly delivered & thought-provoking, low-key finale to the Genesis EP, but definitely no less captivating than any of the other tunes have sincerely been…HAF puts a lot of heart into his material, and I genuinely think it’s something you can hear. You can hear the potential, you can hear the skills, you can hear the desire to be great…and I think above all things, that’s what people will remember most about HAF’s record & will likely be what inspires him to continue to reach for that success he deserves.
Listen to HAF’s Genesis EP at Spotify right here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3Nl2cJwuWD1zi9mWkbfmjf
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