Queens-based rapper and visual artist Heems performed on Wednesday night, talking America, racism and girl problems to a modest yet fun crowd. If the bar was alarmingly empty for a while, the situation changed well before he got onstage past 11 p.m.
The atmosphere was relaxed, with Heems first addressing the public saying this would be a rather intimate gathering. Still, people were very much willing to let loose and dance, making the venue feel much more packed than it probably was.
Heems stood alone on stage, accompanied by an iPod that he also happened to be in charge of. This made the transition between songs rather abrupt most of the time, but it was easy to tell that this was done (at least in part) on purpose. Heems enjoyed teasing the audience with regular “What are you gonna do?” and “Chill the fuck out.”
The crowd, largely familiar with the music and lyrics, was clearly happy to be there and play along, cheering when the room suddenly became silent. The songs were mostly taken from Heems’ recent solo album Eat, Pray, Thug, with a few covers played for good measure. The floor was particularly alive when ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Al Q8a’ came on. Of course, the end came too soon and people seemed surprised that there was no encore, but as Heems said, “I don’t know many more words that I could perform for your guys.”
Heems played at Bar le Ritz PDQ on June 17.