Former Das Racist member Himanshu “Heems” Suri hasn’t ever been shy about the bullshit he’s had to put up with as a brown man in post-9/11 America. His stunning 2015 solo record Eat Pray Thug was a raw open wound of racism, disenfranchisement, Islamophobia and genuine fright as experienced by a dude just trying to make it through. If the free-associating MC has a modus operandi at this point, it’s documenting all of that.
So it’s not the least bit surprising then that a forthcoming project entitled Philia: Artists Rise Against Islamophobia would not only feature Heems but have a screeching track of his as the lead single. “Blades” is a disorienting track that suffers no fools as Heems recounts all the “motherf***ers” who want to stymie the Queens rapper. At one point it turns to the genuinely frightening as he documents displacement and getting “caged in a box because I’m Asian.” It’s more often the case though that some wack dudes just wanna test Heems and it’s trying his patience. Those sorts of mild annoyances and inconveniences are almost a safety valve from the other stuff.
[Proceeds from Philia go toward the Unity Productions Foundation which is a non-profit educational organization that works to combat Islamophobia. Artists such as Mac DeMarco and Hamilton Leithauser (of the Walkmen) have also contributed to the compilation and you can find the full tracklist after the jump. The album is out August 19 via Floating House.]
01 Mac DeMarco – “Don Juan”
02 Drop Electric – “Aisha And The Knife”
03 Heems – “Blades”
04 Hamilton Leithauser – “Song With No Name” (Shane MacGowan And The Popes Cover)
05 Khruangbin – “Ma Be Ham Nemiresim” (Googoosh Cover)
06 Fruit Bats – “Salamander”
07 Small Leaks Sink Ships – “Sympathetic Resonance”
08 Emel Mathlouthi – “Insanity”
09 The Dodos – “Mirror Fake”
10 Vetiver – “Lumiere”
11 John Vanderslice – “Karma Police” (Radiohead Cover)