Guess Das Racist wasn't joking when they rapped, "We're not joking/ Just joking/ We are joking" with a knowing smirk on their Sit Down, Man mixtape. Or as Heems — the group's breakout MC before they disbanded in late 2012 — admitted in a recent New York Times story, "We were much more comfortable hiding behind humor. Something like race is an extremely personal, depressing topic. I would always reference Langston Hughes' Laughing to Keep From Crying because that's what we were doing. Now I'm just crying."
If only things were that simple. Lurking behind the wry Elizabeth Gilbert reference of Heems' new Eat, Pray, Thug album is an artist who's haunted by inequality and 9/11 — his high school was just a few blocks away from where the Twin Towers fell — on one hand and determined to entertain us all on the other. In other words, he's the real deal, from a guard-dropping Devonté Hynes duet ("Home") to the beat-spliced split personalities of "Sometimes." And to think, the first time we heard Heems spit was over a spring-loaded stoner-rap track about Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Full track list:
Heems - "Home (feat. Dev Hynes)" | Heems - "Sometimes" | Heems - "Desi Shoegaze Taiko" | Himanshu (Heems) - "You Have to Ride the Wave (feat. Danny Brown & Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire)" | Das Racist - "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" | Ek Shaneesh - "Das Racist" | Das Racist - "Michael Jackson" | Das Racist - "Rainbow in the Dark" | Das Racist - "Amazing (feat. Lakutis)" | Meyhem Lauren - "Special Effects (feat. Action Bronson and Heems)" | Weekend Money - "Yellow (feat. Heems)" | Heems - "Soup Boys"