Heems, “Eat Pray Thug”

Eat Pray Thug

In “Flag Shopping,” the dark, racially charged track in the middle of Eat Pray Thug, Queens-based rapper Himanshu Suri (formerly one half of the incendiary rap duo, Das Racist) sing-raps with a strained voice, not quite settling into either, and lags almost imperceptibly behind tempo. It’s uncomfortable, but that’s the point. On this centerpiece track, in which Suri describes his family’s post–September 11 alienation in New York, his stressed vocal stylings—while not the catchiest method of delivery—communicates one thing very clearly: he’s exhausted. The toll of living under the strains of xenophobia is one of the core messages of Heems’s solo full-length debut, and while he may rhyme “Osama” with “drama” one too many times, it makes for an eye- and ear-opening listen. There’s also plenty of playful self-awareness on tracks like opener “Sometimes” and “Pop Song (Games),” but the juxtaposition can, at times, seem like an odd combo. But, rest assured, we’re far from any Pizza Hut or Taco Bell.


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