Dancing to the Shofar: Unavoidable

Just in time for it to go viral for the Holydaze, the cartoon Torah geniuses at G-dcast have teamed up with Savannah’s own Jewish Southern hip-hop maestro, Prodezra Beats, to give us a kickin’ new take on the story of Abraham and Isaac. Let the head-bobbing begin:

Thank you to my favorite lunch lady and partner in hot sauce crime, Marcia Silverman, for the link!

I predict 5771 to be Prodezra Beats’ breakout year: Check out more of his catchy hooks and thoughtful lyrics on the EP “Proud to Be.” May his talents be known as far and wide as another international Jewish superstar, SoCalled, who reminds us that there’s nothing so unusual about being a Jewish cowboy. Or cowgirl, as it were.

The “Serch” For The Next White Rapper

mcserch*yawn*. I’m writing this bleary-eyed because I stayed up way past any respectable mommy’s bedtime watching what may be my favorite new reality drama, The (White) Rapper Show. Top Chef who?

You can figure out the drill: A bunch of lily-skinned MCs share a house in the Bronx and compete for street cred, respect and the requisite reality show treasure chest of $100K. Though there’s the expected infighting about who’s more “ghetto than thou” and the silly “wigga” wear (pull up yer pants, homey!), I became quite attached to these kids after just one episode: There’s Bronx-born Persia, who found out the heavy way that no white girl, no matta how ghetto, gets to use the N-word; the tiny little butch G-Child who counts Vanilla Ice as her main influence and probably doesn’t even know she’s a lesbian yet; the frighteningly self-referential John Brown and his “King of the Burbs” rhetoric, who appears to have some form off Asperger’s yet somehow breaks out the mad skills when put to the test. Shamrock, the cast’s lone Irish MC, appears to be quite talented, though he wasted much time trying to get the blonde bombshell Misfit into bed (Kylie Minogue-lookalike Misfit got canned in episode 2; she was obviously cast for her pretty face and English accent, but proved to have no chops and no sense of self-deprecation.)

My fascination may also have something to do with my decades-long crush on host Michael Berrin, better known as MC Serch, formerly of white rapping pioneers 3rd Bass. Serch has aged well and commands an almost rabbinical presence in the roach-infested warehouse the rappers call home (those Vh-1 producers sure know how to keep it real, yo.) He spit a little bit when Grandmaster Flash paid a visit; hopefully, he’ll throw down more as the eliminations continue.

While Serch is one mighty fine lookin’ Jew, there’s doesn’t appear to be a Jewish contestant, which seems ridiculous for a show set in the Five Boroughs. I guess I can understand why Orthodox Etan G wouldn’t be sharing a bunkbed with the very unkosher Misfit. But yo, Smooth-E, did you forget to send in your audition tape?

Since I only allow myself to follow one TV show at a time, these little Eminemmies will have to hold my interest in coming episodes with some serious depth and not play around the yard drinking 40s like they’re on Fame Games (the trailer for this hideous show where has-been celebs humiliate themselves further looped 20 times an a hour —I think my soul may have sustained permanent damage.) Otherwise, it’s back to early nights and the Food Network.

The Mosh Pit In Front of the Menorah

It’s official: The favorite song of the Yenta house this Chanukah season is this ska-flavored version of “Ocho Kandlikas” by Hip Hop Hoodios. (Wait just a sec for the beats to kick in. It’s available on the “Celebrate Jewish Hip Hop” collection from CraigNCo or downloaded here.)

It is my goal to lobby the music teachers of America to replace the oh-so-tired “Chanukah, Oh Chanukah” on the playlists of every elementary school choral concert with this Ladino classic by 2009.

(Ladino is the dialect of Sephardic Jews descended from those ousted from Spain and Portugal; it’s to Spanish what Yiddish is to German. Marcia Fine’s latest novel, The Blind Eye explores this history that’s unfamiliar to so many of us Ashkenazic, Eastern European-descended folk.)

Also playing loud enough this week to shake the neighbor’s jingle bells are “Hannukah Swings” and CraigNCo’s super chill “Hanukkah Lounge”, the cream of last year’s music roundup.

But the Chanukah rockin’ doesn’t stop at home: We got it goin’ on during carpool with Radio Hanukkah on XM radio, channel 108! To hear “Sunrise, Sunset” and a klezmer power hour hosted by accordian mistress Annette Ezekiel from Golem is such a tonic for all those same twenty-five ubiquitous Christmas tunes bombarding us in stores, offices, hospitals, nail salons, hotel lobbies and all other public places. Honestly, isn’t time someone retired poor Brenda Lee already?

Smooth-E Spins the Dreidel Like No One Else, Yo

” Kickin’ beats, machete-sharp lyrics … would you expect anything less from our favorite Suburban Homeboy Eric Schwartz? I could kvell over this guy all day — there has never been any homage to the dreidel like “Chocolate Coins.” Among the rhyming gems: “I spun a whole in the linoleum and discovered petroleum” and “Don’t put it in your pocket —it’ll melt, it’s gelt!

Happy early Chanukah, lovesies.

Meet Lazydork. Enjoy.

No, you can’t touch this Mexican Jew, but with a bathrobe as crusty as that, why would you want to? This video is a response to a YouTube celebrity named Lonely Girl, who’s been getting too much attention, according to Lazydork.

And I’m not sure if “lazy” is the correct appellation for this rappin’ dude because anybody who creates this many movie-related drinking games is doing something special with his life.

Jewish Hip Hop’s New Face?

eshy“Yo!” to DailyJews for introducing Eshy, a Jewish rapper who doesn’t want to be a joke.

You may recall how much the Yenta detests Jewish joke rap but adores the tribal truth beats known as Jewish hip-hop, so I had to listen to a coupla Eshy’s tracks before I could be certain this was the latter, delivered “without any comic novelty associated with it.”

His album “Attention Deficit Disorder” does boast some fine tracks that showcase Eshy’s New York spoken word roots: “Blacks and Jews” might become the rallying street cry for all rhyming Jews looking for street cred, and as far as requisite MC meglomaniacal self-intros go, “Hebrew” solidly places Eshy among the genuine players.

But there are couple of disappointments. The sad irony contained within the main loop of “School Sucks”, “I don’t really want to go to school ‘cuz they don’t really teach me nothin” doesn’t exactly evoke respect for someone who purports to be a word artist. And while “Kill the Boss” echoes Eminem’s “Kill You,” so-angry-it’s-funny aesthetic, it’s not much of a message for the young people.

Overall, though, Eshy’s effort is worth a listen. The surface attitude belies an obvious knowledge and care for language; the lyrical complexity and original beats buoys this artist into the ranks of the authentic rappers, Jewish or not.

*photo courtesy of Daily Jews.

Hip-Hop’s New Heroine’s Got That Not-So-Fresh Feeling

revenge of the jewWhen rappers get ugly, Jewish mothers get even, yo.

British MC Soccer Mom (aka Shila Mitra) has the hip-hop world crowing with laughter with her single “Jamrags,” a revenge track directed at Houston rapper Chamillionaire, who’s developed a reputation for contention. It seems Soccer Mom is a partner in the BCD Music Group, the distribution company that helped Chamillionaire launch his career. Chamillionaire enjoyed the Texas-based company’s skills and made it big, then turned around and dissed BCD publicly.

Well, Cha, hell hath no fury like a mother scorned.

And just what is this “jamrag” that has enabled a mere soccer mom to bring down and humiliate a gangsta rap star?

It’s British slang for a used one of these.

The track will be included on BCD’s new compilation “Road Trip 5: Revenge of the Jew,”, featuring a slew of other new artists, to be released Jan. 24.

Video Is SO Not ‘Da Bomb’

chutzpahY’all know how I feel about bad Jewish parody rap; I somehow feel it is my divine duty to help you distinguish between “crap rap” and honest-to-Hashem Jewish hip-hop.

These dudes, going by the moniker Chutzpah, have been receiving huge press lately as part of the latter category. Upon viewing their video of the song “Chanukah Is Da Bomb,” which features skankily-clad women and dorky guys in warm-ups and fake bling, I must warn you that Chutzpah has a lot of chutzpah to try and present themselves as anything but 50 Shekel’s bee-otches. You know, before he got all Jesusy and just plain sucked.

Not to be hatin’ on anyone promoting Jew pride, but please, listen for yourself and tell me it’s not embarassing.

The State of Jewish Hip-Hop

3rd bassReuters just published a heads-up to the genre featuring Latin-flava’d Hip Hop Hoodios and Matisyahu (which is an arguable inclusion, ’cause Matis falls more into his own personal category of “Chassidic dub reggae.”) The article attempts to distill the true integrity between “Jewish hip-hop” and “Jewish parody rap” with a group that falls somewhere in the middle, Chutzpah, who I haven’t heard yet.

But now that 50 Shekel is now a Jew shilling for Jesus (check out the recent major drama at Jewschool), true Jewish hip hop just might get some respect.

Let’s break it down:

50 Shekel, 2 Live Jews — rip-off loops, bad puns, crap.

DJ Socalled, Remedy, Original Jewish Gangsters — unique beats, lyrics with depth and wit, artistry at work.

And I don’t know about y’all, but I miss 3rdBass.

Did I miss anyone? Challah back!