Contributed by: michaelrussam
Thanks to his work as one half of the deconstructionist hip-hop troupe Das Racist and his two great solo mixtapes, which cover everything from drugs to politics to his Indian heritage, Queens native Himanshu Suri (AKA Heems) is one of the most interesting figures in the current underground hip-hop scene. He also helps contribute to the scene’s increasingly open and unconventional narrative, using his label Greedhead to expand beyond his own music and release projects by openly gay NYC rapper Le1f, ex-L.A. punk Antwon and medical student/loudmouth Big Baby Gandhi. Before his show a couple of weeks ago at Yuyintang, we sat down with Heems to chat about his new album, his intense touring itinerary, and why he’s beginning to feel more comfortable in Asia.
CW: Not many rappers from Queens come to Shanghai, or to China in general. Why did you decide to come out and do shows here?
HS: I love it here. After you’ve played the same places in America and Europe over and over again, it’s just like… It’s just refreshing to come here, there’s an energy in the streets and there’s an energy in the air. It feels familiar to me, I guess because I’ve spent a lot of time in India. My parents are from India, so I have an affinity for Asia. It’s just an excitable energy here. It’s inspiring.
Do you get a different feeling from the crowds in Asia than in the US and Europe?
I don’t know. You know, I’m such a fucking self-absorbed person; I don’t care what’s going on in the crowd. For me it’s more about how I’m interacting with the space. I mean, I do weird stuff, so ...
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