Wednesday, March 22, 2006

King Without a Crown

I actually first heard of Matisyahu through the Jewish blogs, (I'd already found the Hip-Hop Hoodios and Solomon and Socalled on my own.) I now own two of his CDs, and have to admit, I like them a great deal. I'm a nineties kid, I like this sort of music, and giving it Jewish content makes it even more appealing. There are some Matisyahu issues for me, the biggest being that I am no more a Chasid than he is a Jamaican, but I do like the music.

(I also staunchly hold that hip-hop, once described beautifully as 'the arts, urbanized, is an inherently Jewish forum. But nevermind...)

One of the gripes I hear against Reb M. is that people think it's a rip-off of black music (yes, like basically everything in American music that's not a rip-off of Irish music...), that he's cashing in because a Chasid is less threatening than a black artist (doubt it), or that the whole image of Matisyahu is an appealing gimmick because he looks so 'out' that he's therefore hiply 'in'. (Maybe. He doesn't look very exotic to me, so I can't tell.)

So I'm just adding this comment--listening to Matisyahu is giving me unexpected cool points with my students. I have the CD in my room, and several kids (none Jewish, probably none able to explain what a Jew is) have asked about it.

"You know about Matisyahu?"

"You listen to hip-hop?"

'You like Matisyahu?"

"I really like 'King Without a Crown'."

They also listen to 50 Cent and Ying-Yang Twins, but they love Matisyahu. Go figure.


Rebecca said...

its weird, the local top 40 radio station has been playing him lately....

guile said...

you've got good taste in music :)..

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

i have students who are obsessed with matisyahu... but they're jewish :-P