Heems is the alter ego of Queens' native, Himanshu Suri; an Indian-American MC who's former group, Das Racist, reached massive status with their ubiquitous breakout single "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell". After releasing their debut album Relax in 2011, the trio abruptly disbanded, each member going off on their own creative tangent of singles, mixtapes, and albums that were not that different than what they were doing as a group. That this particular summary lead with reference to "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" is probably a big reason for the split. Heems, Kool A.D., and DJ Dapwell had no interest in playing novelty act.
Since that time Heems has released a number of singles and mixtapes, toured and lived in Southeast Asia, and spent a great deal of time connecting with his heritage. This past March he released his proper solo debut, Eat Pray Thug, heading to Austin for the exhausting SXSW racket that tends to precede a spring release. On a drizzly Friday afternoon he dropped by our party at Empire, plodding through pieces that explore race, identity, politics, and place in the world for our latest Garage Gig Concert Video. "Post 9/11 dystopian brown man rap", he dubbed it in a previous interview, bringing everything that's abrasive, challenging, and intellectual about exploring such topics to the stage.
- Little louder. The beat, not the mic. Yo, we're going flag shopping - This is my DJ. I pledge allegiance to the flag Of the United States of America Yo, USA We're going flag shopping for American flags They're staring at our turbans They're calling them rags They're calling them towels They're calling them diapers They're more like crowns Let's strike them like vipers I know why they mad But why call us A-rabs We sad like they sad But now we buy they flags Spying on our Muslim brother While staring at our mother Lover they some bad mother fuckers We're going flag shopping We're going flag shopping The kids are throwing stones We complain but they ain't stopping On your way to the top And now they want you to stop Your mama pray to god But your dad'll lose his job Your dad mad cause he lost all clients Dad, why you crying? I thought that we had the spirit of the lion He take it out on you His belt big like Orion's The NSA be spyin' We're going American flag shopping Red, white, blue on our crib The neighbors threw rocks at the house They making it harder to live They wanna shorter version They wanna nickname They wanna Toby us Like we Kunta Kinte They wanna shorter version They wanna nickname They wanna Toby us Like we Kunta Kinte Federal agents tap my mobile phone And use drones to track my mobile home The towers hit the planes I guess it was written But now they all lookin' at us different They lookin' at us different They lookin' at us different Yo, why they lookin' at us different? They wakin' up my friend at night for no reason They promised him freedom Now he guilty for treason The kids are leaving school They're all misleading tools And I was there I saw the towers and the planes And I'll never be the same Never ever be the same I seen things that I never wanna see again I heard things that I never wanna hear again And now we're going flag shopping We're going American flag shopping Red, white, blue on our crib - How ya'll doin' Austin? Make some noise. Yo Himanshu with the pen, I'm killing it The white man the villain, them deny them penicillin Syphilis experiments, death to the Tuskegee men Somewhere in New York they say death to the squeegee men They say stop and try to frisk I say whoa just suck my dick I ain't white but I know my rights And you full of shit I'm a big belly rude boy I'm a fat sweaty Hindu Stinky sticky icky Bitch I'm smoking on that mildew Thick black chest hair, fat gold chains Somewhere out in Trapistan flipping cocaine My cousin on the field He tend to poppy all day Hima he a fiend He friends with papi on Broadway She like, "Ain't that you with the Muslims?" You and Rizwan be movin things With your crew and them What you do with them Truants and the bluest man Yeah momma said they was the Taliban Hang around in alleys and Rally them Ain't that what they said bout the Italians? Come Mr. Tallyman Come Mr. Tallyman Come Mr. Tallyman From Ghana to Uganda you a goner I'm your father Ain't nobody hotter The devil in some Prada The pope in some Gucci Your baby wearing nada Swetshop Boys and we hot... - Yo, turn the mic up. What up, my name is Heems. I'm gonna do one or two more. Hello Young Cocoa Butter, who is you? White people love me like they love Subarus Rolling with the super crew, something like Scooby-Doo My eyes droopy? Mami that's what doobies do Kalidasa, but across the Kalapani Probably with a Khalistani mommy high as I'll be Heemanchi on a roll like wasabi I don't know what those two were, I'm Punjabi More cash mommy than Mukesh Ambani And Anil Ambani, yeah that's real Armani Yeah that's Lanvin, you call it Lanven You call it "bro-in down", I call it "lampin" I'm from Flushing, bright as a lamp man That's in Queens like MC Cool Fashion You can Google that, he's down with the Beatnuts We got the net wet tryna get the street buck See Dap, that's my fucking mans and shit White boy wasted, let me write a stanza quick Matter fact, yo, all my boys in bands and shit Haters mad cause they got Costanza dicks You know, like the show... Michael Richards made my fucking mind melt Cop a bundle of Rapunzel Do what thugs do we just hustle, LATM, BBT, MTV, BET They call me joke rap, I'm kinda weed rap Yo I just like rap, I don't even need rap Could get a real job, only rap weekly I don't need rap, told you, rap need me Indian style, knees bent, in dashiki Your girl's sext me, she wanna get freaky She beeped me, meet me at twelve Hit it in the shower cause it's hot as hell My fans broken, and he ain't got no AC Say I got potential, But Heem I too lazy - This is my last song. Yo, can you turn the mic up on the monitors a little? I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I don't need to speak I don't need to speak, bruh I'm so New York, I still don't bump 2Pac Label executives, stay saying I'm too sharp All these women in my ears, stay saying I'm too smart When I go to AA man, I always feel too dark I'm too fun, I'm a storm, a Toofon That's why your girl on top like a futon Bae a ballerina, she dance in a tutu Men stay harassing her, they copped her a .22 Yeah ma, we could sip the best espresso Heemy got the best flow, they say I'm the best bro And you, you something very special like a fresco The crib Punjabi Greco, the shoes all gecko Just let go, and get low, they gas you up like petrol Me? I don't need to do that, see I'm very special You never met a fella, that was someone like me Fuck your Tarantino, It's the Hindu Spike Lee I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I don't need to speak I don't need to speak, bruh I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York I don't need to speak I don't need to speak, bruh I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets Like the Chevy in the street, bruh, I don't need to speak, bruh I'm like Shiva, I roll around with freaks I'm on my playa playa yeah, I roll around with freaks I'm with ya girl, we just roll around in sheets And it's crazy how the weed just get rolled around in sheets I'm with them brown boys, we roll around so deep I'm somewhere out in Queens, where we roll around in Givenchy Himanshu, you lucky if he wants you he move mountains for his brothers like I'm Hanuman They should build a monument, that the type of shit I'm on I'm about my family and paper like the Mafia Bruh, I'm still with your family at the opera I'm a Soprano bitch, I might be Tony Huh? Motherfucker you don't know me I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I'm so New York Yeah I'm heavy in the streets I don't need to speak I don't need to speak, bruh I'm so New York yo, I live with my momma Had to leave Williamsburg and all that white drama Had to leave my home, they kept calling me Osama Had to leave my home, cause of drones and Obama I'm so New York yo, I live with my momma Had to leave Williamsburg and all the white drama Had to leave my home, they kept calling me Osama Had to leave my home, cause of drones and Obama I don't need to speak, bruh - Shouts out Harry Froyd on the beat. I don't need to speak, bruh You want me to do one more? Okay. Fuck, all right I'll do it. You guys having a decent time? You guys all right, how's everything in South Pike goin'? One to 10, how's everyone doing, on the count of three, which is even more confusing. One, two, three. Who lied and said 10, shut up man. If that's really true, let's hang out later, put me on, what you up to that's so ill? I mean I'm having a strong 8, a strong 8. You feelin' me? And that's keepin' me 100. See all the numbers? Indian people, we're good at that shit. Don't laugh at that unless you're Indian. All right, this is my last one, my name is Heems, I'm from Queens, New York. And I like doing the rapping. Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Brown Chris Farley Mr. Potential Abortion Stat To that cat that pay his momma mortgage cash is back Wrapped in Nehru Jackets Fashion fabrics front to back In fact "What's poppin' akh?" In case I go bye-bye for poppin' Ox Gave my mom thirty stacks cash for her safety deposit box I ball 'til I'm y'all With my last few breaths I would crawl to the mall You starving fam I go Darvin Ham I'm Marvin Hamlisch, bitch Yo I'm the man I swear my friends are trying to kill me I'm online watching old interviews of Biggie Keep my blinders on my Eye on the prize my Blind on the rise Fly 'til demise Like a bird in the sky That dies as it glides Mighty healthy salad over fries Even Styles P owns a juice bar I'm trying to have long paper Egg crate 22 cars Cause I was about my paper as a baby me Sticking up older kids stealing TI-83s - I used to steal graphing calculators and sell them for money when I was young. It was a good hustle. TI-83s. Could sell 'em for like $40, or like $80 in the store. They're free when you steal 'em. Tecate at the party To start me promptly Loud pack Gilbert Gottfried Got the bomb weed Sippin' on Oban Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Brown Chris Farley My girl look like Jackie O More classy though Me I look like Young Placido Domingo tally ho I beat it like Ringo My phone, it rings though And I'm like "Bingo!" That's when I hit it with Dominican juno Like baby Juno My favorite writer is Junot Diaz Hima smart as three SAT tests Though depressed, he best Though depressed, he best 'Til decessed Wait deceased Never could red Wait, could read At a good speed But he blow some good weed Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Blowin' on some Marley Cowabunga Gnarly Brown Chris Farley Brown Chris Farley
A rapper, visual artist, record label owner, Punjabi-American, and native New Yorker, Himanshu "Heems" Suri launched his solo career while still a member of his old crew, Das Racist. Heems formed the alternative hip-hop group with some friends in 2008, the same year that he created the Greedhead Music label to release their music. Their defining moment came toward the end of the year as the single "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" went from quirky indie number to major hit in no time. The single also hung like an albatross around Das Racist's neck, and after multiple mixtapes and the official 2011 album Relax, the assumption that they were a "novelty" act became just one of the reasons for their 2013 breakup. Heems had already dabbled with a solo career and released his debut mixtape, Nehru Jackets, through Greedhead in early 2012. A second mixtape, Wild Water Kingdom, landed in late 2012. After Das Racist split, Heems headed to Bombay and began work on his official debut solo effort. The album was released in in 2015 and coincided with an exhibition of the rapper's artwork at the Aicon Gallery in New York City. Both the LP and the exhibition shared the same title, Eat Pray Thug