When one thinks of Queens rappers, one does not think of political redistricting, but all of that is about to change.
Himanshu “Heems” Suri, a member of the idiosyncratic rap group Das Racist, is releasing his hotly anticipated solo mixtape Nehru Jackets in conjunction with SEVA NY, a community organization that’s currently focused on raising awareness about the consequences the citywide redistricting scheduled for later this year will have in the Queens neighborhoods where he grew up. Mr. Suri’s mixtape will be accompanied on several songs by young SEVA members who rap and sing in Punjabi.
The Observer made our way out to Queens to watch Mr. Suri record at SEVA co-founder and executive director Gurpal Singh’s bedroom studio. Mr. Suri was accompanied by a pair of young SEVA rappers—Lovedeep Singh, 21, and Jaspreet Singh, 17 (none of the Singhs are related, it turns out). Lovedeep’s parents don’t know about his rap hobby—he simply told them he was at a SEVA event without mentioning the recording studio. Mr. Suri and Mr. Singh told him they would break the news to his parents before the mixtape’s release party.
“He’s got strict parents, but we’re going to have to tell them,” Mr. Singh said. “He’s going to be on stage in front of the whole community.” Read More