by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Jewish hip-hop, chassidic rap. Powerful fusion or desecration of holy tunes?
Until When by chassidic musician Prodezra is a fusion of chassidic tunes with modern hip-hop music. Note I said music, not hip-hop lyrics, bling or any other cultural baggage - just the music.
Prodezra specializes in "beats", the musical non-vocal layer of the hip-hop song. Those in the chassidic world would recognize the same non-vocal songs sung as niggunim, songs of the soul. And this is exactly what the artist tries to fuse.
He creates modern hip-hop style beats which are based on chassidic niggunim. The tracks are powerful, bouncing with energy. To varying degrees, they're also hip-hoppy drummy with loops, which in some cases makes for a great energetic treat - in other cases a sound that's just too different for my tastes. Most tracks are vocal / lyrics free. A few create a full chassidic rap Jewish hip hop experience.
Here's my thoughts and/or feelings as I listened to the album...
Track 1 - Excuse Me. A brief rap intro. Here and gone.
Track 2 - Koach. Powerful but very modern. My teenagers like it.
Track 3 - Until When. Great opening, nice depth. Wakes you up.
Track 4 - Change (w/Describe & Y-Love). Modern chassidic Jewish hip-hop song. Cool.
Track 5 - Tribute. Guitar classic rap tribute to righteous women. Eh.
Track 6 - Sound the Alarm. Loud! Brash! Noise! Not my thing.
Track 7 - Ein Ode Milvado. Electronic, piano, meditative. Calming & intriguing.
Track 8 - The Lamplighter. Rappy, shouty, piano, the far edge. Not for me.
Track 9 - One with Him. A rap to Hashem. Why not?
Track 10 - The South Niggun. A niggun fully rap'd out. Almost works, or not.
Track 11 - From Strength to Strength. Chassidic niggun, beat style. Nice!
Track 12 - Stood at Sinai. Chassidic niggun rap. It works.
Track 13 - Masa L'Geulah. Tinkle, melancholy, tears, draws out the soul. Love it.
Track 14 - Change Instrumental. Track 4's background by itself. Cool & strong.
Are there holy sparks in hip-hop? Does the US inner city culture, with it's extreme excesses of various types also offer a tidbit to be extracted and elevated?
Maybe, just maybe, the answer is yes.
Until When by Prodezra is available here for disc, here for MP3.