Two days before I meet Himanshu Kumar Suri, a.k.a. Heems, a.k.a. one of the two rappers who brought “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” into the world, he tweets, “Here Lies The Fat Guy From That Das Racist Fad.”
On a warm Wednesday in Brooklyn in early August, Heems isn’t fat, or even chubby, but he does seem exhausted enough to drop at any second. The 29-year-old Queens native looks stunning in an African-print inspired suit made from deep-hued fabrics he discovered in Thailand. Instead of a chain, he’s got a necklace of chunky rudraksha seeds. Later, I’ll find out rudraksha is spiritually significant in Hinduism and can be worn to ward off unhealthy habits.
Once we’re seated at adjacent corners of a table at Baby’s All Right, a restaurant/venue in Williamsburg, I mention that Heems looks sharp but not exactly well. “How should I be right now?” he mumbles. “How would you expect me to be?” I have no idea how he feels about doing this interview. His reply to my initial email request for a profile was “yes yes yes so down.” A few days later, by text: “Im in bk now can meet. well talk outside or at the fried chicken spot. But I gotta leave in an hour.” Then, earlier today: “U can ask me follow ups after the set but ill be drunk then.”
Big piece, guys. Enjoy, and please share with fans of Heems, Das Racist, stories, internet, music, hip-hop, life.
HBO finally (finally) picked up a seven-episode second season of The Leftovers. It’s now aired six episodes of the first, so this is a relatively late-coming vote of confidence. We asked the Grantland staff: Are you in or out on the show? Are you sticking with it? Does knowing there will be an entire new season of gloomy mysteries make you more inclined to watch or to catch up? Lightning round, go
If you want to really hear Robin Williams - really hear him - you should listen to this incredibly moving interview he did with Marc Maron circa 2010.
It was the very first thing I thought about when I heard the terrible news of Williams’ death today. He talks so honestly and frankly about his alcoholism, his divorce, his depression, and so many other things.
If people are going to talk about Robin Williams’ mental health in order to raise awareness, please understand that he had bipolar disorder. And please understand that it is different from clinical depression. It requires awareness and understanding just as much as depression.
Both very important to pay attention to, learn about, talk about. Among all mental illnesses and disorders.
“I was supposed to say on [“New Day,” on ‘Watch the Throne’], ‘Come on, Jay, you know we’re both gonna have daughters.’ And I’m so mad, because you know when I pop that creative-genius shit? If I had had that, that could’ve been my one moment where I’m like: ‘Okay, fuck all the conversation. Look at that. I called that one.’”—Kanye West to Zach Baron in GQ. One of many excellent moments.
The thing that sucks about mental illness is that if you aren’t depressed enough, suicidal enough, bad enough, nobody cares. Nobody cares until you reach their standard, and that standard is when your problem is bad enough to effect them
The amount of people who can relate to this makes me equally incredibly sad and immensely angry
“Well, all right. To be frank, most of it’s not very good. Some of it’s useful, though. One of the things is, it’s made this sort of continuing-story TV — you know what I mean, House of Cards, Damages, The Killing, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, that kinda thing — the Internet and the blogs have made it possible for people to follow the stories even if they miss an episode or two. And thanks to the computer generation, they don’t really even have to do that, because you can always pull one down from iTunes or Hulu or something like that. But a lot of the actual criticism is pretty ham-fisted. I’m not just talking about reviews and stories about series that are not good. I know that the reaction on the blogs to Hostages, for instance, was [chuckles] pretty goddamn harsh! But a lot of that harsh criticism wasn’t written very well, and some of the [positive] criticism’s the same thing. But it’s been an interesting thing — you can’t, when you’re in the process of making these shows, writing a continuing series, it’s not a good thing to look at them too much, blogs and everything. Because a lot of times the speculation is very close to what you’re planning to do, and then the impulse is to say, “Oh, people have already figured this out! We have to change it!” And a lot of times, your first way of going’s your best way. Does that answer your question?”—–Stephen King re: the online TV criticism machine | Grantland (via popculturebrain)
“I have acquired the reputation over the years of being prolix when in fact I am measured against people who simply don’t work as hard or as long.”—Joyce Carol Oates, as quoted in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
“Following a more straightforward novel and a work of translation, David Mitchell returns to the genre-skipping, globe-trotting, techno-spiritual ambitions of his astonishing ‘Cloud Atlas,’ taking even greater risks at even greater length.”—Boris Kachka’s description of The Bone Clocks, coming in September. AHHHH!
“There’s this kind of whole secret inner life to the Eels, and one of the weirder parts of it is that we’ve been friends with Steve Perry for years. It started because he’s been coming to our shows for a long time — like 10 years. And occasionally he would send word backstage that he wanted to meet me, but I always felt awkward about it because when I grew up I didn’t have an appreciation for Journey, and I felt like, “Well, I don’t know what I’ll say to him.” So I avoided him for years, and then one day I had lunch with the film director Patti Jenkins, who made the Charlize Theron movie Monster, and she happened to be good friends with Steve, and she said, “You should really meet Steve. He’s the greatest guy.” So I did, based on that recommendation, and found that she was absolutely right. Steve’s the greatest guy. So then I invited him to one of our weekly Sunday croquet matches, which is another part of our secret inner life that I guess is no longer a secret, and he came one Sunday and never left. He became a regular for years, and he just became one of our good friends. There’s no one in our circle that doesn’t just love the shit out of Steve. He really is just a great guy. Then he started showing up unannounced to our tour rehearsals every year. He would just sit there and watch us. And then slowly over the years, guys in the band would try to bait him by playing a Journey song hoping he would grab the microphone and start singing, but he never would. He would just laugh. He was always a good sport about it. And then one tour rehearsal probably three or four years ago, it happened, where he surprised us all and grabbed the microphone. And for the first time in 18 years or something, he started singing a Journey song. And it sent shivers down my spine, and I instantly gained an appreciation for his voice and Journey, something that I never got before.”—
"[What Breaking Bad's] Anna Gunn had to deal with — that was so bizarre. I was following that and was really appalled by the way that was unfolding. The people’s reaction to her character was so disturbing to me as a woman. I was like, 'What’s wrong with our country?' It freaked me out, man. But I don’t think that I have exactly the same thing to worry about, because we know in the very beginning that Lester goes from zero to 60, whereas in Breaking Bad we sort of watched Walt deteriorate. I don’t know why that confused people; people gave him more slack for that reason and therefore hated Skyler more. But there are people online who are like, ‘Boo, Molly, we hate you.’ But I know they’re just super Martin Freeman fans, so they want him to win no matter what.