Hip-hop wisenheimers Das Racist are already two-thirds of the way through their solo-mixtape project, in which every member of the insightfully snarky New York trio drops an album under their own name. Next up is Heems, a.k.a. Himanshu Suri, whose Nehru Jackets features guest spots from new jack rap stars Action Bronson, Childish Gambino and Mr. Muthafxxxxn eXquire.
You can download Jackets for free at the website for the community organizing group SEVA, which is working to raise awareness on the effects of redistricting among immigrant communities. The tape is free, but Heems would appreciate if listeners donated a few bucks to the group. He recently chatted with Nonstop Sound for a bit about going solo and how he got involved in SEVA, and also took the opportunity to point out that he's great.
Nonstop Sound: So what was the idea behind all three of you guys making individual mixtapes? Was this idea inspired by Wu-Tang's guys all going solo in the '90s before Wu-Tang Forever came out, or is it more of a Kiss move?
Himanshu Suri: "We've been on tour for over a year now. Our project is extremely collaborative. We thought it would be fun to display our talents individually. We're so great you know?"
NS: What was it like to be in the studio without your boys? Did you find there are topics you can talk about more easily when you don't have to share the microphone?
HS: "I had my other mans and them in the lab usually."
NS: What made you decide to get involved in SEVA?
HS: "My best friend from my neighborhood was community organizing and I got jealous because I play rap shows for white people."
NS: In your experience, is it hard to get people to understand why redistricting is an important issue?
HS: "Once people, like me, learn about local politics and realize how much it affects them it's pretty clearly an important issue to our community."
NS: What else do you have planned for this year?
HS: "We're gonna hang out. I'm going to spend time with my girlfriend. I love her dearly."