Himanshu Suri’s new album is ‘a great collection of music’
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 23:11
Himanshu Suri is a complicated dude who I can’t even begin to comprehend. He’s a genius, as he graduated from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a degree in economics and worked as a headhunter on Wall Street for two years. He’s also one of the most prolific up-and-coming rappers in the game, as his rap group, Das Racist, has been getting buzz ever since they dropped the obnoxiously repetitive, obnoxiously fantastic “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” in 2008.
Through 2011, Das Racist released a few big mixtapes and their fantastic debut album “Relax,” but 2012 has been the Year of Heems. In January, he dropped “Nehru Jackets,” his first mixtape, and it was fairly awesome. My favorite track, “Womyn,” is simultaneously a parody of popular rap songs about women that repeat the same genericisms equating them to objects instead of people and a tempered look at gender relations. And that’s nothing compared to “NYC Cops,” which began as a cover of The Strokes’ “New York City Cops” but became a protest song railing against the New York City Police Department for the decades of atrocities committed against minorities in the city (inspired by Himanshu’s Indian heritage.) What I am trying to say is that the dude is deep. He’s got a lot to say and he knows how to do it.
After a two-week Hurricane Sandy-based delay, the rapper from Queens dropped his second mixtape of the year, “Wild Water Kingdom,” on Nov. 16. The closest I can get to an opinion about its 16 dense, complicated tracks (with an intro) is that they’re just as good, if not better, than what’s found on “Nehru Jackets.” While it doesn’t get as deep as the more provocative songs on that tape, that means it’s a great collection of music to have on in a variety of places; studying, driving, chilling. It’s versatile.
The clear standout on the tape is “Deepak Choppa,” which has an absolutely fantastic beat that builds on itself produced by LE1F, and Heems starts out with a lot of Das Racist-esque zingers combined with amusing throwaway lines like “Himanshu, I’m so crazy / One thing I’m not, m*****f*****, is lazy.” The lines pick up with the beat, as Heems eventually takes on the persona of a corrupt immigration officer, threatening “We can send you back at any given time, it ain’t like money that you stack / Not like money for a lawyer, that’s the money that you lack,” before he finally goes on a diatribe. That’s just one song, but it shows how skilled Heems is; it’s a song that’s initially goofy turns deadly serious, changing tempos twice, and it feels completely cohesive. While not all of the songs are that ambitious, they can mix many feelings together into something great.
Some other standouts: “Tell Me,” which has a nice back-and-forth between Heems and a guest appearance by Childish Gambino (though I can’t get past the Trayvon Martin namedrop) and “Soup Boys,” which samples the huge international hit “Why This Kolaveri Di?” I can really recommend half of the album as standouts, though; “Killing Time,” the title track, “Combat Jack Show Freestyle,” for instance. Rap fans should definitely check this one out, especially because it can be downloaded for free at LiveMixTapes.com. It’s a lot of fun.