Welcome to Heaven – [HVN]

It should come as no secret that Houston is amongst the most promising upcoming scenes in the U.S. right now. From sold-out local shows to attention from countless acclaimed artists, the city’s in-house, DIY spirit has created an ever-growing buzz, consistently raising the bar with each new release. Today, offering his official introduction to those outside of the city, Houston native HVN is here with his 7-song debut project, Welcome to Heaven.

As the title entails, Welcome to Heaven is one of those rare releases that feels as though it means more than just music. Structured around careful curation from sonics all the way to graphics, it’s an introduction to HVN’s lifestyle, and a look into the beating heart of Houston’s underground, booming with energy and unafraid of creative strides. Take for example, the project’s opening track, “Backhand.” For one, the name “Backhand” sets the tone for HVN’s relentless, borderline rebellious artistry. More importantly, though, it’s a chance to kick the door open with a gorgeous gathering of keys and a few words from fellow TX artist, TisaKorean. Soon after these first few seconds, though, the glimmering keys fade, and HVN’s in-your-face sound is off to the races. As it should be.

Welcome to Heaven isn’t limited to just one sound, however. There’s the atmospheric “Dreams.” Then there’s the high-octane “Rat.” And to close the project, there’s even “323 (Outro),” which incorporates an incredible vocal sample unlike anything I’ve heard before. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the project keeps everything tied to its Houston roots, employing features from Houston artists Broadday, BBY Kodie, and YGR as well as production from Houston producers NoFriends, Relax, and Broadday223.

These aspects and so much more make Welcome to Heaven a real moment, more than just another mixtape. The cover art is debatably my favorite of the year so far, and the sonics here are truly special, not to mention that it’s only a debut project. HVN is well on his way to being the next big thing out of Houston, so don’t sleep.

Stream Welcome to Heaven below: