Himanshu Suri

Alternet.com has given Das Racist’s hyperactive Himanshu Suri space to unleash a straight think piece titled “Post 9/11 All Over Again,” on the race-related hatred he encountered on the internet the day after U.S. operatives killed Osama Bin Ladin. “Straight” as opposed to the irreverent, risible wit that colors his band’s raps; he’s called that humorous framework for his reflections on race relations an attempt to make “legitimate commentary” without being “annoying,” but his longer-form editorial writings — here with an op-ed on NBC’s Outsourced, and today at Alternet — are anything but. In this new piece, Heems’s social experiences as a 16 year old NYC high school student on 9/11 are juxtaposed with those during his “Twitter art” project, “turn[ing] a mirror on American racism against Hindus and Indian people” by retweeting hateful and bigoted tweets he found on 5/2/11. The article’s reference to the Amritsar Massacre of 1919 at the outset was poignant for me (the city is my namesake), but so were all the other words before and after. It’s a powerful and recommended read, and another look at one of the minds behind a consistently thought provoking rap/art group.

If you don’t like Das Racist for their restless, multimedia pontifications on race, though, maybe you’ll like them for having that “’just woke up in Brooklyn’ look on lock“? Or then maybe for their recorded music career also, which according to their various Twitter accounts is entering its next phase: @DasRacist and @Heems have been insinuating that the band’s close to completion on their first proper, paid LP, titled Relax, which will be self-released and @llegedly features production and collaboration from Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Yeasayer’s Anand Wilder, El-P, Despot, and more. More on that when it’s known. In the meantime, you are entitled to Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man for free.

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