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Munchies

How Rapper HEEMS Is Helping Cab Drivers Eat

Artist HEEMS is a busy guy, rapping, writing poetry, and currently working on a new television show about his life. But he's recently become an unexpected activist, helping to improve the meals of New York City cab drivers with an unusual source.

by Helen Hollyman
Nov 2 2015, 7:00pm

Being a cab driver in New York City isn't easy.

You're drinking coffee to stay awake on a long shift, and then you've gotta piss and find time somewhere eat. But there's nowhere to park.

For a while, there was an oasis known as Punjabi Grocery & Deli where you could dock out front and grab some of the city's greatest Punjabi cuisine, from hearty samosas to combo platters that could sate an entire army in one order. But in 2010, the city started building a plaza, causing construction to block the front of the establishment, or precious parking real estate. Customers were unable to park, which caused the grocery's profits to plummet by 80 percent.

On today's episode of MUNCHIES: The Podcast, I'm talking to the unexpected person who has helped solve the problem: Punjabi-American rapper HEEMS, a.k.a. Himanshu Suri.

As of late, the former Das Racist member-turned solo artist has been busy, from the release of his newest album, Eat, Pray, Thug, to developing a sitcom about his life for FOX. But the artery leading back to the polymath's wheelhouse is activism, and Punjabi Grocery & Deli is at the heart of his efforts.

HEEMS recently took me on a cab ride to the deli, where we crushed samosas and discussed his thoughts on life as a young Punjabi-American, the essentials of Punjabi cuisine, and why the deli is an integral part of New York City's transportation community. And then something strange happened involving romance novels, but you'll just have to listen to hear what I'm talking about.

So grab a cup of New York's finest bodega coffee, download the podcast, and tell the rest of the internet to subscribe. And if you have yet to do so, subscribe toMUNCHIES: The Podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Our next episode drops in two weeks, so send your insatiable self over to MUNCHIES and gorge on our content to tide you over.