In one of the most out of left field pairings I’ve ever seen, Tao and Wiz Khalifa teamed up on “Hello Hello“, and surprisingly absolutely made it work.
I … I sorta love this?
Unlike some of Tao’s previous efforts, which had wonderful music videos but forgettable songs, “Hello Hello” is exactly the kind of rare subdued R&B and hip-hop combination that scores with me. From the piano and booming drums to the smooth and emotional English vocals during the hook to the surprisingly impressive rapping performances, it all worked.
The base instrumental is standard R&B/hip-hop collab stuff, but I still enjoyed the underlying beat and the piano because they flow together so well. I do think the song could’ve used a second drop where it builds to something during a bridge, but even without that build, it still works for me because everything else plays up due to how the song was structured rather seamlessly.
The hook of the song is definitely addictive and is primarily what I look forward to hearing on this track over the half dozen times I’ve listened to it so far, but that doesn’t mean the rapping is forgettable. Wiz did his thing on the track, and while it wasn’t anything special, it wasn’t as mailed in as many American rappers usually have done on collabs like this. So Wiz gets the verses started off on the right foot, and Tao, for his part, does shockingly well in both the sing-rapping and the faster-paced rapping in his initial verses. The smoothness of his flow was a pleasant surprise and he definitely carried the track from hook to hook in the mid-section. That said, I did think Tao reverted to more of a mumbling, incoherent form of rapping later, which was the worst part of the track and more along the lines of what I expected to begin with, but that slip wasn’t enough to overcome what was definitely a well-rounded effort.
The music video wasn’t complicated at all, with Tao and Wiz Khalifa generally just standing in front of the camera doing their thing. What stood out, though, was that Tao fit into this concept alongside Wiz rather smoothly and didn’t seem at all out of place during the entirety of it. Rarely did I feel like cringing at something, which I tend to do a lot in these types of ‘serious’ efforts, and that was because Tao came off as a credible presence that was well embedded within his element.
Despite having basically no plot, I did also appreciate the use of lighting in the music video, both in terms of the thunder going hand-in-hand with the booming drums, as well as the background spotlight making the music video’s subjects cooler than they had any business being given the concept.
While the instrumental for “Hello Hello” isn’t complicated or original, the composition and structure was executed impressively, and thus the song never gets tired or drops my interest. The music video, rather than being some kind of cringe mess, was simple and credible, boosting the overall experience.
While I haven’t been too impressed with much of what Luhan, Kris, or Tao have done musically since they’ve left EXO, “Hello Hello” certainly changes that for me. Given that no new ground is broken here, I can understand those who shrug at this release, but you can count me among those impressed with Tao and his well-rounded effort on “Hello Hello”.