Himanshu Suri 

Wild Water Kingdon

The title track from Himanshu Suri’s new Wild Water Kingdom mixtape is both dumb and wonderful. Repeating “I’m with my family at Wild Water Kingdom / Wild Water Kingdom, Wild Water Kingdom” 50 times is not exactly The Blueprint. But the hook is an earworm, the synths are lush and inventive and the line “I’m the Jamaican crab in the mermaid movie” is exactly what we want from Himanshu, aka Heems: facile, ironic and metrically perfect. It’s aggressively modern hip-hop that hearkens back to an era when the term of greatest approbation was “stupid.”

In our present age of the ultra-produced mixtape, it is also feels messy. Yet it is not so lackadaisical as the most recent effort from Suri’s fellow Das Racist emcee Victor Vasquez. He is conspicuously absent from Wild Water Kingdom, and maybe that’s for the best. Heems deviates from his neurasthenic monotone on several tracks, as if he were trying to make up for the loss of Vasquez’s more robust voice, and the result is a broader dynamic range. Wild Water Kingdom sounds like a step forward. It is not perfect. It is frequently idiotic. But what matters is that it is often and startlingly both

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