hmv’s Next Big Thing… #15 Heems
Every week we recommend an artist who we think you’re going to love. This instalment of the NBT (Next Big Thing) is Heems – a rapper who is sure to get your brain ticking…
Who is he?
He’s an American rapper from New York, formerly from US alternative hip hop group Das Racist. Heems, real name Himanshu Kumar Kuri, formed the group in 2008 with university pal Victor Vazquez. Shortly after Ashok Kondabolu joined as the duo’s hype man. First their success came when they released 'Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell' on the Internet in 2008. The boys then made a name for themselves in the underground rap scene with 2010 mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man.
In 2012 Heems founded independent record label Greedhead Music and released his first solo mixtape, Nehru Jackets, through it. After Das Racist came to an end in 2012, Heems moved to Bombay and worked on his first official album.
His second mixtape, Wild Water Kingdom, was released in November 2012 and his debut album Eat, Pray Thug was released last month. Collaborations include, Dev Hynes, Rafiq Bhatia, Gordon Voidwell, Boody B and Harry Fraud.
Who Does He Sound Like?
He’s kind of like Cypress Hill meets Tyler The Creator. His work is heavy stuff and raps about topics like 911, the US Government, race issues, xenophobia, understanding the world, drug addiction and much more. Eat, Pray, Thug is ‘about the complexity of identity’ (according to Heems) and he claims it’s about the time when he went away and cleared his head the same way she (character in Eat, Pray, Love) did. His latest single, Sometimes is a fun video, yet mocks his Indian culture and various other stereotypes within a rapper’s world.
Why Should He Excite You?
Firstly you should note that he was the main man in Japan for a Vitamin Water advert last year and it’s brilliant…
He’s one talented man, deep emotionally driven 29-year-old, who produces, writes songs, managed Das Racist and he knows rap music like the back of his hand. He has a day job (currently from beginning of 2015) in advertising. And claims his job is how he got his life together after finding self-imposed exile in India. He wants to help people, young people and be a good role model – so he speaks about difficult subjects – which others may fear to touch upon – in interesting, thought-provoking ways.
When you say ‘Big’? What do you mean?
He’s performed in Nepal, Philippines, Malaysia, China, Japan and India. And with his contacts in the US and alternative, blunt, fun hip hop tunes, his name is only going to be well-known in many films. No doubt some big-shot Big Sean style rapper will get him on a track and BOOM, enter ‘BIG’.
Can I hear something?
Heems says 'Flag Shopping' and this tune ('Patriot Act') are tunes he is particularly proud of. But listen here to 'Sometimes' released a week ago…
Heems' new album Eat, Pray, Thug is out now.