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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Boston Herald article - Jewish rapper Matisyahu divinely unorthodox

Jewish rapper Matisyahu divinely unorthodox
By Chris Faraone
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - Updated: 09:49 AM EST

Matisyahu is no gimmick.
Even if most of his fans are drawn as much by his faith as his music, the orthodox Jewish reggae rapper compels with an almost supernatural stage presence and rhyme style.
Those who trudged through Sunday’s snowdrifts to see the bearded anomaly at Avalon were rewarded with more than just divine flows. They got the full-force reggae show including psychedelic backdrops and a chill mood to match.
It’s unusual to see a hot independent artist tour with accordion-toting, Yiddish-speaking Canadian rappers. But Matisyahu shows are anything but traditional, including the opening act, Montreal’s So Called.
A rap crew of one, So Called came off as a bit of an amateur. But his jester style and Larry-from-the-Three Stooges haircut garnered ample laughs from the mild-mannered crowd, a diverse bunch sporting a mix of yarmulkes, BoSox hats, hoodies and dreadlocks. They didn’t brave a blizzard out of mere curiosity.
From the minute Matisyahu hit the stage in his signature black getup, heads were singing along. The cheery ‘‘Raise Me Up” got people vibing, and the radio hit ‘‘King Without A Crown” triggered dance-floor hysterics.
Matisyahu was aided by a sharp three-piece band that provided flaming riffs for the frontman to spit fire over.
Although his ‘‘Live at Stubb’s” album recently passed the 100,000 sales mark, Matisyahu was already prepping for next month’s release of his second studio album, ‘‘Youth.” Judging by the nonstop dancing at Avalon, his new material will be as well-received as his breakout tracks.
The only disappointment was Matisyahu’s refusal to peel off his coat and hat and stage-dive, as he’s famously done at past shows. Though he flashed his exceptional beat-boxing skills and delivered the colorful roots ring that he’s become renowned for, he kept his jacket on through the encore.
There’s no doubt that Matisyahu is one of music’s shooting stars. In one year he’s graduated from opening act at small clubs to Avalon headliner. Whether people support him for his values or his vibe, one thing is certain: Matisyahu cooks up some serious reggae while making religion sound more fly than Amy Grant or D.C. Talk ever did.

(taken from bostonherald.com)

Thanks to Chaim for the article


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