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Wichita has a hidden secret for Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper fans

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Wichita has a hidden secret for Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper fans

Courtesy

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Wichita is harboring a hidden oasis for hip-hop fans and they go by the name of Lewelheds. Lewelheds has been active for years and seen numerous variations, but they have only recently released their first project: a demo aptly titled “Finally.

The projects lifts off with a set of shimmering, interstellar synths that let you know they’re taking us to a new place in Wichita indie culture. “Finally” delivers us to a fresh groove, live-band hip-hop. The Lewelheds have strong rap roots, with music that branches off into jazz, Latin, and indie rock fusion.

The demo’s opening track, “Moments,” is fueled by brooding drums that rest on the listener like burdened shoulders. The first voice heard is that of keyboardist Dez Hill, who approaches the track with smoky, jazz vocals that have a restrained delivery.

It isn’t until the track takes off into its chorus that it showcases its true potential. “Moments” dives into dynamic instrumentation and reveals the voice of resident MC, Marrice Anthony, who steadily delivers lines like, “She moves the water like a moon in my fatal sky.” Suddenly, to bookend the track in unprecedented rap fashion, multi-instrumentalist Benjamin EC absolutely shreds a guitar solo.

Despite the group showing off their originality and gift of blending genres, the full power of “Finally” doesn’t hit until the ready-for-summer jam “Diff” comes out to play. Between two sizzling verses by Anthony, euphoric heights achieved by Josue Estrada’s trumpeting, and the interpolation of the chorus to Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” classic, “Juice,” vocalist Dez Hill sends us all to heaven with a “soul scream” he’d been hiding in his back pocket.

From “Diff,” the project is all highs. Perhaps the highest high comes in the form of the group’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” remix, “BDKMV.” The hypest of all of their tracks, the chorus finds Lewelheds riffing off of Kendrick Lamar’s classic with seemingly effortless charm — turning Lamar’s “big chillin” anthem into a sporadic party that one cannot resist screaming along to.

While “BDKMV” completely goes off, the most profound moment of the project comes during the spoken-word-anchored “Let’s Be Us.” This is Dez Hill’s track, and he completely owns it. His second verse jump-starts with the iconic line, “When did we stop living life sentimental? Wake up in a Honda, still dream about the limo,” that sets the tone for what’s to come.

The textures provided by Estrada’s trumpet perfectly set the tone for Hill’s soul-wrenching introspection — “keep your hands behind your back. Swine catch you runnin’, metal bullet to your back. You’re at the funeral but your body in the bag, fam askin’ for a rulin’ but the judge ain’t black, nah.” This heartbreaking revelation highlights exactly why Lewelheds are what Wichita has been starved for.

The entire project is wrapped in the minds of improvising, jazz-trained musicians. Trumpets, keys, and drums are constantly sputtering in unhinged fashion. “Finally” certainly has a demo feel that is prevalent when a track soars to its noisiest moments, as it does with “Let’s Be Us.” However, that un-killable vibe also shines through when a track feels slightly under-cooked, such as on “Penthouse.” The track doesn’t quite reach the same highs that it does during Lewelheds’ climactic live sets.

The tape’s spontaneity would indicate that Lewelheds meant to put the listener right in the studio with the group. Thankfully, they pulled off exactly what was intended with their first project. The most impressive feat is that “Finally” strongly brings on the feeling that the listener is at Kirby’s, watching them rock a live set.

It’s raw, unpolished, and it’s exactly what Wichita needs to be paying attention to right now. As soon as you know it, they are going to be out of this world.

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