Ever since we heard that Heems (Himanshu Suri of Das Racist) and Riz MC (actor/rapper Riz Ahmed) were hanging out, we’ve been yearning for these postcolonial rap wordsmiths to collaborate.

swetshop boys benny lava

Story by Rumnique Nannar

Our wish was their command. Heems and Riz formed Swetshop Boys, and a year later, they’ve finally released the first song off their unreleased triple-track EP, “Benny Lava,” sampling the viral video “Benny Lava” by Buffalax.

We love their fantastic style (leather studded jackets paired with kurtas, can we make this a thing, please!), but more importantly, the song is clever, bridging Heems’ often absurdist and swaggering verses with Riz’s topical commentary on race and national security.

swetshop boys riz ahmed

Heems and Riz MC

The Swetshop Boys stay true to their individual music styles while fusing catchy beats with fabulous wordplay. Heems pulls off the same incisive critiques he did during his time with Das Racist, and brings a laconic delivery while riffing on drug trafficking: “Somewhere out in Trapistan flipping cocaine, My cousin on the field, He tend to poppy all day, Hima he a fiend.” Riz Ahmed, who we last saw in Mira Nair’s The Reluctanct Fundamentalist, delivers a sharp commentary on national security, paralleling Michael Jackson songs to drones with finesse.

We just can’t get over the fact that two of our favourite rappers are hanging out, making postcolonial jokes and riffing on politics. I’m a bit greedy and want a full album from the two, but for now I’ll be doing the Heems shoulder shuffle to this track.


Watch Benny Lava by Swetshop Boys