Former Das Racist member, Himanshu Suri, aka Heems, has announced the release of his forthcoming and highly anticipated album. The follow-up to 2012’s Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom mixtapes will be Heems’ debut solo full-length, titled Eat, Pray, Thug which is scheduled for release on March 10th (via Megaforce).
Ever since Das Racist (comprised of Suri, Victor Vasquez, aka Kool A.D., and Ashok Kondabulu, who went under the moniker Dapwell) parted ways at the end of 2012, Heems left his hometown of Queens and moved to Bombay, India to work on the record. The album was recorded by the rapper in both Bombay and Brooklyn.
Over the years, Suri has been an advocate of the South Asian community in New York by joining the Queens-based community organization SEVA. The rapper has also voiced his opinion on pressing current affairs including racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia on Twitter.
The album’s first single “Sometimes” was released last Thursday (January 8th) and features production from Gordon Voidwell, who released the critically acclaimed mixtape Bad Etudes in 2014. Heems described the song as “being about dualities, identity and the space between spaces”, going on to say “I often felt like I lived two lives, an Indian one and an American one”. This very theme has been representative in his discography both lyrically and musically. For instance, last year, Heems teamed up with MC Riz Ahmed and released a collaborative, eponymous EP as Swet Shop Boys, which included songs named after celebrated Indian poets/artists Benny Lava and Shiv Kumar Batalvi. And, from the track-listing below, it is clear that with the likes of “So NY”, “Flag Shopping” and most notably “Al Q8a” will address similar topics. The theme is depicted visually too, in the album’s cover art, designed by Chiraag Bhakta. Representing Heems’ dual nationality, the cover is similar to that of Hozier’s self-titled album as the face of the South Asian woman is replaced by a map of Queens.
Eat, Pray, Thug will include 11 brand new songs along with features from composer, guitarist and Son Lux member Rafiq Bhatia and multi-instrumentalist and producer Dev Hynes. The full track-listing for the record is as follows: 1. “Sometimes”, 2. “So NY”, 3. “Damn, Girl”, 4. “Jawn Cage” (featuring Rafiq Bhatia), 5. “Flag Shopping”, 6. “Pop Song (Games)”, 7. “Home” (featuring Dev Hynes), 8. “Hubba Hubba”, 9. “Al Q8a”, 10. “Suicide Cop”, 11. “Patriot Act”. Other collaborators/producers on the album include the likes of Gordon Voidwell, Harry Fraud and Boody B.
Despite a few delays, Eat, Pray, Thug will be upon us March 10th, and is available to pre-order in the U.S., on iTunes now.