Released: 2018

Layering melodic vocals over a piano-driven accompaniment, “whoa (mind in awe)” by XXXTENTACION portrays the rapper’s inner emotional turmoil, and his relentless journey from despair to a hopeful, confident self-image. The track’s reflective tone and poignant lyrics delve into the grim reality of his past struggles and his optimistic expectations for a gleaming future, fueling his determination to rise above life’s low points.

The hook of the joint is layered with repetitive ‘Oh-oh-oh’ and ‘Oh-woah-oh’, depicting an intense emotional outcry. XXXTENTACION has been known to use such abstract phrases to share his emotional state, here it signals a cry for help, conveying his heavy-hearted feelings and encapsulating the emotive crux of the track.

Moving onto the first verse, ‘Won’t look back on my mom’ isn’t about a literal refusal to look back at his mother, instead it represents his struggle to distance himself from a painful past. ‘I must shine’ shows his motivation to rise above these struggles, highlighting a resilience that’s a cornerstone in hip-hop culture.

XXXTENTACION whoa (mind in awe)

The line ‘Won’t let you cloud my mind’ signifies his determination to maintain mental clarity and purpose, refusing to let the negativity of others cast a shadow on his ambition. This assertion stems from the self-empowerment theme prevalent in hip-hop, where artists emphasize individual strength and independence against adversities.

The second verse reflects on the past – ‘All my days, I was crying, All my lows, all my highs’. Here, XXXTENTACION candidly reveals his past emotional upheavals. His openness about emotional vulnerability, a common trope in his music, resonates deeply with his fanbase and adds a layer of authenticity to his persona.

Then he proceeds with ‘Told my Mom, I’m gon’ shine’, an affirmation to his mother and himself that he’s destined for greatness. This ambition and self-assurance are intrinsic in hip-hop, as artists often narrate their life stories as a rags-to-riches journey.

‘To my love, I’m gon” marks the endpoint of the verse. The incomplete sentence conveys a sense of uncertainty or a promise for the future left unspoken. It could be about his commitment to his loved ones, a common sentiment within the larger narrative of hip-hop’s family and romantic relationships.

The chorus repeats with ‘Oh-oh-oh’ and ‘Oh-woah-oh’. While these may just seem like vocal fillers, for XXXTENTACION these are a sonic representation of emotional outpouring, a technique he often employs to enhance the emotive spectrum of his tracks.

On the surface, “whoa (mind in awe)” may appear minimalistic lyrically, but delving deeper, it becomes evident that its power lies in the raw, unfiltered emotional honesty. XXXTENTACION employed a less is more approach, using abstract sounds and key phrases to convey his life’s struggles and triumphs more effectively than a lyrical overflow could.

Written during a tumultuous period in XXXTENTACION’s personal life, this track stands as an essential pillar of his complex musical legacy. Despite embroiling in controversial life events, his candid exploration of mental health, struggle, and resilience never failed to resonate with his fans. “whoa” serves as a testament to the power of hip-hop as an expressive medium, extending beyond complex lyricism into simple, emotive soundscapes.