What do you get when you cross critically acclaimed actor and hilariously talented rapper? Obviously, a politically charged transatlantic hip-hop duo, ready to spearhead any and all revolutions. Swet Shop Boys is that said group, featuring the familiar Heems (of Das Racist fame) and Riz MC (British actor Riz Ahmed, star of The Night Of).
Together, the two were able to tap into their similar, but incredibly polar backgrounds to formulate a poignant treatise in the form of Cashmere, their 2016 debut album. Filled with bars touching on their shared South Asian cultures—Heems is of Indian descent, while Riz traces his heritage to Pakistan—and how it relates to their Western world at large, the album serves as fiery glimpse into the minds of two oft-sidelined minorities view on society and politics.
Swet Shop Boys released the accompanying video for a standout Cashmere track, "Zayn Malik." The song derives its name from the famed pop-star and British Pakistani, Zayn Malik. While the song is sure to confuse some One Direction fans, those who stumble upon it with an open mind will leave with a special treat. Heems and Riz MC counterbalance each other in a gratifying way.
Riz MC shoots rapid fire bars, speaking on serious topics like politics and empowerment; then Heems grabs the microphone and proceeds to go on a braggadocio tangent. Dark and heavy juxtapose to light and fun. Their dynamic is cleverly captured in the "Zayn Malik" video, as Ritz MC is surrounded by a group of serious looking dudes, and Heems is the center of a wild party.
Definitely check out Swet Shop Boys' Cashmere and "Zayn Malik" above.