Rappers and Rabbis Unite Hip Hop and Judaism in Sukkot Celebration
Great music can break down barriers and resonate with people from all walks of life. A catchy tune with a meaningful message can transcend age, background, and tradition, creating a shared experience that brings people together. In our diverse Jewish communities, where divisions can sometimes overshadow our shared heritage, it's essential to find ways to bridge our differences. The timeless melodies of Debbie Friedman's Havdallah Niggunim, embraced accross the Jewish world, from Young Israel to BBYO, are just one example of this. Now a new group gives us a testament to the power of music to unite us - as Sukkah MC's!
This article shines a spotlight on a group that's at the forefront of shaping Jewish culture and making a big impact among the Gen Alpha and Gen Z circles in our communities. Meet Rappers and Rabbis, the largest Jewish hip hop collective in the nation. They reimagine prayers, reinvent holidays, and use music as a means to connect with Jewish youth. Rappers and Rabbis have developed interactive and hip-hop-inspired prayer books, Havdalah services, and Passover Haggadahs. They've reached more than 2,500 kids through performances and workshops in camps, schools, and youth groups nationwide, inspiring the next generation to embrace their inner MC.
Their latest release, "Sukkah MCs," is a music video that pays tribute to the upcoming holiday of Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths. This song is already making waves, thanks to its educational yet fun approach. With captivating cinematography by Tolu, a renowned filmmaker from New York (Newark), and direction by Rachel Haymer, aka Kol Isha, the video brings the essence of Sukkot to life.
The "Sukkah MCs" music video not only showcases Rappers and Rabbis' talent but also features a guest appearance by the viral sensation Kosha Dillz. Kosha starts as himself, the rapper we know, before transforming into one of the Ushpizin. These Ushpizin are biblical figures traditionally invited into our homes during Sukkot, with each night welcoming a different guest. In this music video, we witness these ancient figures navigating the modern-day Sukkah.
Sukkot, also called the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the harvest season and commemorates the Israelites' 40-year journey in the desert. Central to the celebration are the construction of a sukkah (a temporary dwelling) and the waving of the Lulav and Etrog, symbolic of nature's abundance.
"Sukkah MCs" masterfully weaves these themes into a pop song that's both catchy and family-friendly. It's an enjoyable way for people of all ages to learn about Sukkot while grooving to the captivating beat produced by Digital Crates, a Grammy-winning beat maker and producer for Rappers and Rabbis.
Matt Bar, aka Bible Raps and founder of the collective, emphasizes, "It's time to introduce the wider Jewish world to the possibilities of hip-hop through this new Sukkot anthem. My original Purim track paved the way for this group, and we hope to replicate that success with this video. It's our next production after our album from last year that really put us on the map."
Kosha Dillz, Internal Rhyme, and Bible Raps infuse their lyrical talent into the song, seamlessly merging their artistic skills into the narrative. Over the last three years, Rappers and Rabbis have collaborated with numerous well-known and emerging talents in the Jewish hip-hop scene. They've fostered creativity and connections through gatherings with the help of organizations like Moishe House, Rekindle, and the Federation of New Jersey Metro North. These meet-ups have played a pivotal role in shaping this unique hip-hop collective. While their talent is undeniable, it's their passion that truly captivates and spreads the excitement.
"Sukkah MCs" serves as a reminder of the beauty of cultural fusion and the power of music to educate and celebrate. Rappers and Rabbis have succeeded in creating art that entertains and educates, making the traditions and values of Sukkot accessible to a broader audience.
Rabbi Dvir Cahana reflects, "I first discovered Matt Bar and Bible Raps at 13 when I heard his Purim-themed music video. I found his music clever and would sing Bible Raps' songs with friends during recess. I felt inspired by his work and empowered to start writing my own raps, connecting with my Jewish heritage. Now, more than 15 years later, I get to make music with my teenage role model. I hope 'Sukkah MCs' will have a similar impact on teenagers, helping them discover their creative voices."
In a time when music videos often prioritize glamour and extravagance, "Sukkah MCs" stands out for its authenticity and the genuine enthusiasm of the artists involved. Rappers and Rabbis provide a platform to showcase core Jewish values and messages while leaving behind some of the negative aspects sometimes found in modern pop songs.
As "Sukkah MCs" continues to make waves on the internet, it's evident that Rappers and Rabbis have struck a chord with their unique blend of hip hop and Jewish culture. They remind us that art can transcend boundaries, bringing people together in unexpected ways. If you're looking for a fresh perspective on tradition, give "Sukkah MCs" a listen and join the Sukkot celebration with a whole new groove.
Meet The Ushpizim
The Social Climber
Mayim (Rain) Maker
King With A Sling
The Altar Ego
Rappers and Rabbis
One Heck of a Team