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Swet Shop Boys Release “Zayn Malik”

A Different Direction

by Hadrien Turner

The Swet Shop Boys, the socially conscious trio of Himanshu Suri ( a.k.a Heems, formerly of Das Racist) and Riz MC (Riz Ahmed, who stars in HBO’s The Night Of) and producer Redinho released their newest single, “Zayn Malik" Thursday.

The track is after the pop group One Direction’s former bandmate Zayn Malik, who decided to strike out on his own last year.  Much like their past tracks, “T5” and “Tiger Hologram,” it gives you something to think about. This time it isn’t “random” airport security checks, but role models that are discussed.

As Riz puts it himself, “We got in the booth and pretty much free-styled this track. At the time it just flowed but stepping back I see how there’s a thread in there about aspiration and role models. It’s confusing for our youth about who to look up to; radicals or pop stars, or neither. Somewhere out there Heems is ‘a college dorm room poster’ tho, and maybe that’s something.”

Their LP Cashmere, which comes out via their independent label Customs next month explores South Asian identity in a world plagued by Islamophobia and general climate of fear of other cultures in the Western World. It’s much deeper than rap.

Have a listen here, it should be food for thought until Cashmere is out.


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Hadrien Turner is a music and skate junkie based in Athens, GA who has written for publications like Mass Appeal and The Ride Channel.



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