Next month, ex-Das Racist rapper Heems will follow up his two stand-out mixtapes, Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom, with his first proper solo LP, the brilliantly titled Eat Pray Thug. According to the MC, its tone might be a little heavier than fans would expect. "There are no Indian samples on this, which made up a bulk of those mixtapes," he tells Rolling Stone. "Also, the subject matter is much more personal and serious than my previous work, which was more playful."
This is apparent on "Home," a drifting second-person break-up tune made with Blood Orange singer-songwriter-producer Dev Hynes. Their partnership, it turns out, goes back to 2010. "When Dev was Lightspeed Champion he had a little-known rap MySpace called 'Ni**a Bullshit,'" Heems says. "This was when we first started talking about a collaboration." The song itself goes back even further: "I wrote some of the lyrics in college at Wesleyan, some before Das Racist in Bushwick and most of it in my engineer Daniel Lynas' old studio with Dev in Dumbo."
Below, hear a second new track, "Tell Me a Poem," which didn't make Eat Pray Thug's final cut. This one (produced by the Burning Deck) came together a little more quickly: "I made this song in 30 minutes after a show in Bangalore," says Heems. "I didn't like the original mix of the record as much and the label felt like it was filler. When I heard the new mix, I loved it."