Bigger Than Hip-Hop
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.”
Earlier this week, former mayor Ed Koch announced that he would begin to robo-call legislators who violated a pledge to back non-partisan redistricting.
Most of the renegers were Senate Republicans, and one, an Assembly Republican, reneged on his reneging decided to in fact support the reforms once Koch started calling his Read More
Ed Koch says he’ll send out robocalls today and will reach 100,000 voters in the 42 legislative districts represented by lawmakers who are reneging on their pledge to support independent redistricting.
The lawmakers are mostly Senate Republicans (who are backing a plan to change redistricting rules through a constitutional amendment, which won’t go Read More
College students who held a mock session in the state Senate chambers this weekend proved they have the whole routine down pretty well.
The CUNY and SUNY students debated the redistricting bill that narrowly passed the Republican-controlled State Senate. Mirroring the real-life debate, students representing Republican districts controlled the chamber, and pushed for a constitutional Read More
Ed Koch is mailing letters today to Albany lawmakers who signed on to his New York Uprising pledge to support non-partisan redistricting but are now reneging on their word.
The timing, Koch says, is because some lawmakers said that they wanted to wait until after the budget to take up the issue. Now, with the Read More
Here are some of the highlights from the Somos conference in Albany this weekend.
Andrew Cuomo, 3:15:
“I never had any new immigrant come to me and say to me, you know what I want Andrew, I want help with Medicaid, I want help getting welfare. You know what they say they want Read More
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has not been afraid to jump out in front of an issue, even if the state’s senior Senator, Chuck Schumer, isn’t quite there yet (i.e. same-sex marriage). But recently, Schumer has caused a stir with his opposition to non-partisan redistricting and his “mysteriously quiet” stance on Read More
NYPIRG number-cruncher Bill Mahoney is out with a report this afternoon that shows that, thanks to the dissapointing census showing in New York City, the downstate region is due to lose two congressional seats in the latest round of redistricting.
The report notes that there was much more proportional growth in the Hudson Valley area, Read More
The 2010 census numbers are out, and they show that there are far fewer New Yorkers than many people–including the Census Bureau–believed.
According to the new count, there are close to 8.2 million New Yorkers, down from the 8.4 million that the Census Bureau and the Bloomberg administration believe actually live here.
The discrepancy is Read More
The reform movement paints a target on Dean Skelos’ back, with Ed Koch firing the opening salvo.
“The constitutional objections that he is making today were not made when he made the commitment and we believe it is simply an effort to derail the whole operation,” Koch said after meeting with Skelos. Read More