Two years after his Brooklyn native alternative hip-hop group broke up, former member Himanshu Kumar Suri— dubbed “Heems”— has foreshadowed his upcoming solo LP, Eat, Pray, Thug, by dropping the single “Sometimes”. To the mad beat of Gordon Voidwell, Heems delivers the lyrical declaration of his presence and person.
As Heems explained, “Sometimes” deals with “dualities, identity, and the space between spaces. Like so many other people, as a first generation South Asian in the U.S. I often felt like I lived two lives, an Indian one and an American one. I lived, at once, in- and- between two spaces and outside them as well.”
Fancying himself the new age guru, the Deepak Chopra of rap, Heems defines the multiple identities that intersect to make his own. He celebrates and criticizes: celebrates his experiences and his multifaceted identity, yet criticizes a dichotomy that limits how he defines himself.
Not tied to one identity, in the space between two, the artist gains his voice. The message is one —beauty is in the mixing. Life is about resisting that which dichotomies present—white, black, good, bad—and embracing the gray. He addresses this in his lyrics, challenging the racial hegemony of the rap industry and sharing his own “deviant” experience: “But when your paper high, people stay around/ Listen mad intently when you make the sound/ Tell you that it’s all love, they care about the browns/ The truth is when you down, they be out making the rounds/ Like, brown boy, brown boy, what’s up with that sound, boy?/ Why, boom, bye-bye, they just getting down boy/ Something like Akbar, I should wear a crown boy/ The shit, I admit, but I’m not a fucking clown boy.”
Heems puts on his crown in “Sometimes”, and reveals the uncertainty of human relation, the feebleness of friendship, and the strength of the self. Egoistic though his self-celebration may be, that does not matter to Heems and it shouldn’t to us. “Sometimes” speaks of what we all, whether happy or sad, poor or rich, loved or hated, seek to achieve: embracing ourselves between the black and white.
Photos: spin.com, acclaimmag.com