Experienced Rap Educators come together to thrive and build
While still a philosophy student at Washington University in St. Louis, Matt Bar developed a distinct Hip-Hop/Folk fusion of Bob Dylan and Lil’ Wayne, with his folk rap style earning him honours to open for a Grammy-winning group Outkast as well as Jurassic 5 and Matisyahu. His debut album, “Lying in Chalk,” contains singles that have played on MTV's "The Real World" and NBC's “Hip Hop Nation Notes from the Underground.”
In 2006, Matt moved to New York to pursue his music career. While playing venues in the evenings, Bar worked as a part-time Hebrew School instructor in Greenwich, CT. In a bid to get restless pupils to behave during class, he promised to rap for them in the closing minutes of each session. Captivated by the merging of beats over biblical narrative, his students’ enthusiasm inspired Matt to flip his teaching model by giving hip-hop top billing in his lesson plan.
Bible Raps is an outgrowth of Matt’s success as a Hebrew School teacher. Bible Raps’ interactive approach offers students a unique experience of producing beats and writing lyrics that reflect their personal insights on biblical narrative and contemporary Jewish identity.
Today, Bible Raps is a full-time nonprofit expanding its focus on co-leading a collaborative organization with other hip hop pedagogues called Rappers and Rabbis. Bible Raps has sold 2,500 albums and performed in stage shows and collaborative musical workshops for more than 125,000 youth in 75 cities in the U.S., U.K., and Israel including summer camps, conventions, and Jewish educational settings. Matt has studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Rebecca, and two boys, Micah and Jonah.
Ali Richardson, a.k.a. Text Rich Ali, is a music educator based in Philadelphia. Ali's musical performance and educational work connect the genre of Hip-Hop, so beloved by today's students, to its predecessors like Gospel, Jazz and Blues, to explore how each of these musical genres, from different eras, can become remarkable windows through which to view the history of the United States and the African-American experience. This fusion of genre and generation informs his approach to to writing, performing, and teaching music.
Ali was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, and came to Philadelphia in 2002. Since then, he has shared his musical talents and teaching with thousands of students. From 2004-2012, Ali was co-founder and lead facilitator of the CODA Program, where he developed Hip Hop Jazz Musicology, and in collaboration with others, was able to share his vision through visiting school classrooms, summer camps, and workshops for young people as well as adults.
Since then, Ali has continued to offer workshops independently and through the African American Museum, and most recently, as Vice President of Rappers and Rabbis (see "Projects and Partners" for more info!).
Ali is a multi-instrumentalist. Although guitar is his "native instrument," he also plays percussion, bass guitar, piano, and the dijeridoo!
Hip-Hop Jazz Musicology offers a rich opportunity for participants to connect with and experience the musical genres that continue to influence today’s music in America. Participants develop a framework that connects musical traditions by exploring everything from the driving rhythms of African drumming, to the call-and-response that fueled Gospel and the Blues, to the creativity of Jazz improvisation. Great for all ages and audiences of all backgrounds, Hip-Hop Jazz Musicology creates an effective space where youth and adults can relate and appreciate musical experiences through staged reenactments, role play, and live performances.
This 45-90 minute workshop explores how the music genre of Hip-Hop, so beloved by today's students, relates to it's predecessors like Gospel, Jazz and Blues and how each of these musical genres can be a remarkable window into the history of the United States and the African-American experience.
enjoys teaching and working with all ages and academic levels. His mission and vision is to create a world where youth and elders can sing, play, learn, and teach together.
Eric a.k.a Myster-E was born and raised in central New Jersey with much of his family background in the Bronx, NY. E graduated from Brookdale Community College in 2014 earning an Associate of Arts degree. While there he started his own college radio show titled "The Kickin' it with E show". During this time he also spent a summer interning for the well-known rapper "Raekwon the Chef" at Ice House Recording Studio. After graduating from Brookdale he went on to continue the Kickin' it w/ E show on Wu World Radio. (Official radio of the Wu-Tang Clan). Before & during radio, E worked as a coach & child mentor for an anti-bullying nonprofit organization called "Kickin' it" for many years which began his career of working with the youth.
Mr.E later went on to work a 1-year contract as a Laser Science Teacher/Emcee for a laser light edutainment company called Prismatic Magic. There he went on to tour the East Coast performing fun educational laser concerts for the youth in school assembly/auditorium settings. He put on shows in 7 different states & over 100 shows that year. From there, E went on to become a Teaching Artist for NJPAC, teaching through Hip Hop and Poetry. In addition, he is now the Director/Coordinator of the Hip Hop Institute at the Monmouth County Boys and Girls Club located in Asbury Park working with youth on artistically expressing themselves in a positive way as well as host of a growing monthly Open Mic in Freehold, New Jersey.
Recently he was named Hip Hop Ambassador to Poland.
Bronx-born to a pulpit Rabbi and social worker, Robert “Poppa Left” Lefkowitz spent his early childhood years moving from congregation to congregation with his family until, at the tender age of 15, Robert’s father passed away. Robert created the artist moniker “Poppa Left” to share his story and use his tragedy to better himself and give others hope.
Poppa Left has made a name for himself in Hip Hop culture as a recording artist, performer, event curator, and educator.
During his religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 2011, Poppa Left had the privilege to live and study Judaism with Shyne, a former platinum recording artist. Upon returning to America, Poppa Left recorded a song and music video with Grammy Award-winning artist Treach of Naughty By Nature.
In his career, Poppa Left has released two projects. His debut mixtape entitled Seventy Souls in 2013 and his debut album “Leftovers” in 2017. Recently, Poppa Left was honored as MVP artist for the Philadelphia radio station, “UTM RADIO”.
Frustrated by living a double life as a salesman by day and rapper by night, Poppa Left chose to give his purpose more symmetry by becoming involved in teaching and mentorship. Since 2016, Poppa Left or “Mr. Rob” has taught in multiple schools in Philadelphia and Camden and is Currently teaching special education in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
From rapping at Rider to studying in Yeshiva in Israel with a Hip-hop legend turned religious Jew, Shyne, Poppa left embraced his Judaism in a renewed way, releasing albums upon his return to the USA. Lefty has since used his degree in communication to further his career as an artist but also to work within special needs education. Currently, he resides in Cherry Hill and is making music and with the collective Rappers and Rabbis to entertain and educate.
His recent hit “KnickSet” became a sensation when it was quoted by most of the Knicks ball players on twitter.
SETH RYAN BARMASH
Seth Ryan Barmash has been writing, producing, and performing music since 1999 with legends: from Diddy to Disney. Seth has education from both University of Southern California & Musician’s Institute with award-winning experience as a multi-instrumentalist & composer. Seth has produced & engineered for both the Warner and Universal Music Groups. Career highlights include work with TI, Xzibit, Macy Gray, & The Roots with remixes for Neyo, Janet Jackson, & Diddy. As a music publisher Seth has placed many compositions in Film & TV including songs on Saturday Night Live, Burn Notice, The XFiles 2 soundtrack, and various reality shows. Seth also has music placements in commercial campaigns for Microsoft, Jose Cuervo, the WB network, and the MTV Movie Awards. Seth has a successful history of indie label production work for Grand Hustle Records, Doggtown Records, and most recently Raw Life Records. In the past few years, Seth has worked with multiple groundbreaking artists such as Dice Raw, Gina Zo, Minister Jamie Knight, Normal Gene, DiA! & The Young King. This experience culminated with multiple releases from all signed artists as well as placements with NBC, CNN, and the NBA.
Since then Seth Barmash aka Digital Crates has been running his own successful media studio in the Philadelphia area called “CratesSpace”. During the past two years “Crates” has produced and promoted for countless tri-state area artists leading to a massive distribution catalog with a lot of music now available on all platforms.
During quarantine, Seth has moved into online education sponsored by multiple programs teaching and learning everything from music education to religious studies. Relocating to Tampa Bay, Florida for 2021, Seth Barmash aka Digital Crates hopes to bring the creative service community back together for a prosperous new year!
Internal Rhyme is a one-of-a-kind hip-hop visionary. Born in the heart of Philadelphia, he has developed a persona driven by cultural diversity, social justice, and incredible lyricism, as learned from the surrounding individuals in his city. Raised in Cheltenham, PA, the same bordering town that birthed hip-hop sensation Lil Dicky, Rhyme was able to remain relevant in the Philly hip-hop scene and the Midwest Jersey as a student at Rutgers University. Internal Rhyme is a perfectly balanced scale, giving listeners a variety of topics to remain intrigued. One single may be vain and ignorant, with the follow-up being introspective and conscious. Internal Rhyme recently got his masters in Social Work and finds great ways to use hip hop as a resource for mental health.
Adam Mayer is a teacher of Torah and Jewish wisdom. Rabbi Adam Mayer joined the faculty of Kohelet Yeshiva in 2014 from Jerusalem, where he received a Certificate of Advanced Jewish Studies from Pardes Institute and an M.A. in Jewish Education and Certificate in Jewish Day School Education from Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Education.
He received semicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechamia Goldberg and his B.A. from Brandeis University, graduating with honors in his double major of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Hebrew Language and Literature. Rabbi Mayer served in the IDF and has been teaching Judaic Studies since 2003 as well as working at Camp Ramah Darom during the Summer. He is the spiritual leader of Rappers and Rabbis.