Saturday, August 23, 2014

The FADER Presents: Heems & Riz MC - SWET SHOP [BOYS] EP & "Batalvi" (Greedhead)




Das Racist were hands down, one of the greatest post-2000 New York area Hip-Hop groups, who essentially created their own "outsider rap" scene, which would later harbor up-and-coming guys like Lakutis, LE1F, Mr. Muthaf*ckin' eXquire, Antwon, Kassa Overall, KechPhrase, Big Baby Gandhi, etc. Luckily enough, I had a chance to see Das Racist on their then unannounced 2012 "farewell tour" in Philly, a show which additionally featured a mini-Greehead label showcase: Lakutis, LE1F, and Weekend Money as opening acts. Since disbanding, founding members Himanshu "Heems" Suri and Victor "Kool A.D." Vazquez have each released a number of critically-acclaimed solo mixtapes; well, Heems actually uploaded two mixtapes, Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom, while Das Racist were still actively together. Suri then moved to Bombay, India between 2012-mid-2014 as part of a self-imposed exile, wherein he began recording material for his first proper album for Sony/Megaforce Records, tentatively titled "EAT PRAY THUG." Amidst compiling tracks for possible inclusion on EAT PRAY THUG, Himanshu Suri quietly began recording material for a separate project entirely, Swet Shop Boys, a self-described Indo-Pak rap group with London-based Pakistani rapper-actor, "Riz MC" Ahmed.


Then, with little to no prior notice, The FADER sporadically premiered their 4-song SWET SHOP EP Friday afternoon, along with a music video for new EP-plucked single, "Batalvi." "Shiv Kumar Batalvi was a renowned Punjabi poet and singer, who loved hard, lived fast, and died young... the late Batalvi pops up between archived shots of Bollywood glamour and militant handy-cam footage to remind us that life is a "slow suicide,"' reads a chunk of The FADER's featured "Batalvi" piece, which attempts to make sense of director Zarina Muhammad's scatter-brained FaceTime-aided video clip. The then untitled SWET SHOP EP was previously reported to consist of a mere three tracks, two of which seemingly had producer clearance issues, but I guess Greedhead were able to tack one back on; production work on Heems & Riz MC's recently uploaded FREE EP comes from Greedhead-affiliates Lushlife, Lynas, Ryan Hemsworth, and Trooko. It seems as though Himanshu Suri & Riz Ahmed are "both into the idea of doing some more work when [their] schedules permit," stringent on if SWET SHOP BOYS EP ends up being well-received, while Heems' roughly 11-track EAT PRAY THUG is rumored for a late 2014-15 release on his new-found label, Sony/Megaforce Records.

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