Artist: Himanshu featuring Danny Brown and Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire
Title: "You Have To Ride The Wave"
Producer: Mike Finito
Album: Nehru Jackets (mixtape) (2012)
For those of you two who have been waiting with bated-but-not-so-much breath wondering exactly when I was going to reveal the name of that song I heard while on hiatus many moons ago that I thought was an underappreciated banger, if anyone can even remember that thread at this point, today's your lucky day, as I've grown tired of waiting. Originally, I was trying to work through the Das Racist catalog in chronological order, but even though I only have one album left, they don't actually fit my West Coast theme, nor its Wu-Tang-related exceptions, and besides, I love the song so much that I was going to put it on my playlist anyway. So I present to you "You Have To Ride The Wave".
Regarding Himanshu (of Das Racist, best known as "the one that can actually rap when he wants to" or, as I keep calling him, "the one that sounds like a less-polished Jadakiss), I've listened to only two tracks off of his debut solo mixtape (or album, depending on your personal criteria), Nehru Jackets. One of them, "Coca-Cola Freestyle", was played on Sirius XM's college radio station for a while. The other, obviously, was "You Have To Ride The Wave", which I was drawn to primarily because of the guest list, as my initial exposure to this song happened around the same time I was getting into Detroit's Danny Brown and Brooklyn's Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire. Today, however, it's probably my favorite Heems solo song, and it features fantastic verses from the guest stars (and also no chorus of any sort, which, huzzah!), but even though that statement makes it seem like I'm selling our host short, he also sounds pretty good on here. Although I really need to get back to Nehru Jackets, but that's neither here nor there right now.
Everything kicks off with a dialogue sample lifted from an interview between Arundhati Roy and Howard Zinn, one that acerbates the seedy, unsettling feel that the song has anyway, which ultimately gives the song its title, but once the drums kick in, it's a wrap. Mike Finito, apparently some dude Heems grew up with that ended up producing the entire mixtape, delivers a pounding banger of an instrumental that can't help but to bring the best out in everyone involved. Danny Brown bats first, jumping in with a fiery performance that almost, almost lives up to his self-proclaimed "rap Louis C.K." boast, bragging that his girl looks like "Jane Fonda" (I'd assume the Barbarella version, but I don't know the guy that well; maybe he really loves Monster-In-Law?), and even tossing in a random Street Fighter II reference that actually made me laugh out loud, no bullshit, when I first heard it. True story. I sounded obnoxious and everything. More so than usual.
eXquire steps intop the booth quickly afterward, chastizing Finito for delivering this kind of heat to Heems but not to him, which was a bizarelly meta touch, right up until he threatens to fuck Finito's girlfriend as payback, which is at least in keeping with eXquire's style (although the way he spits the line, "She's getting dick from me" is pretty funny). This motherfucker's muthafuckin' verse accurately deconstructs his entire career up to this point, as he positions himself as a "ghetto, yet articulate", well-read dude who talks a lot of shit and is very observant about his place within our chosen genre, and also loves drinking and fucking. I can't imagine people wouldn't be one hundred percent on board with his antics by the time he gets around to spouting a ridiculous quote, almost immediately qualifying it as "one of them lines Lil' Wayne'd say", his self-awareness at an all-time high, but then again, eXquire is still pretty far underground, relatively speaking, so how the hell am I supposed to figure out your personal preferences? But I like the guy.
It's only natural, given his Das Racist performances, which were primarily made up of disconnected punchlines, catchphrases, and pop culture references, that you would think Himanshu to automatically be the weak link on "You Have To Ride The Wave", but you would be wrong. He's actually the reason Daniel and eXquire appear in the first place, since Heems and Daniel also popped up on MFN's "The Last Huzzah (Remix)" (alongside El-P, Himanshu's former rhyme partner Kool A.D., and Despot). But, seemingly inspired by Finito's monster beat and his collaborators, Heems delivers a ridiculous, but entertaining, verse that sounds like a heightened-but-slightly-more-focused take on his Das Racist material. He slips into inane material toward the end, but at that point you're most likely going to gloss over the lyrics in favor of the music anyway, or maybe you'll just rewind back to Danny Brown's verse.
Heems also delivers a long-ass outro that gives credit to the producer, the source of the dialogue sample, his guest stars, and every borough in New York City, because rap. It kind of sounds like an award acceptance speech, in that Himanshu makes sure to thank everyone that had a hand in the creation of "You Have To Ride The Wave", which was kind of sweet, I guess. He then lets Finito's beat ride out for the rest of the run time, so that the listener can enjoy the instrumental without further interruption. I love it when rappers end songs like that, but then again, the music has to actually be good for this to work.
So there you have it. "You Have To Ride The Wave" was the tangentially-related-to-Das Racist song I heard that I became obsessed with during one of my many hiatuses. Now that you finally have the answer to your question, I'm sure you're all underwhelmed as fuck. To that, I say: just listen to the fucking song, you two. And if this stirs up more interest in Danny Brown and Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire in the process, all the better.
Do you agree or disagree with this selection? Discuss below.