HeffyRaps Credit: Courtesy the Artist

On a March episode of Roy French’s Chicago rap YouTube series 106 & Clark (a riff on defunct BET show 106 & Park), HeffyRaps talked about focusing on a specific sound on his latest self-released EP, February’s Dead by V-Day. “I’ve been only rapping for a year, so I’ve just been kinda fuckin’ around trying everything,” he said. “I really started getting my shit together for this EP and figuring out what I wanted to do—and I started embracing that vulnerability inside.” That eureka moment shows on the EP, and when it came out, those sounds he made for himself turned out to be on point with what everyone—including thirsty rappers, Soundcloud-savvy teens, and major-label A&R execs—appeared to want. On Dead by V-Day he blends pop-rap inspired by emo’s 2000s pop-punk phase with buttery R&B and a hint of the aggression that first defined so-calledSoundcloud rap. The best results, such as the melting soul vocal hook on “White Ladders,” feel like something Post Malone would want to steal—it emanates pop but retains rap in its core.   v