Jews for Jay Electronica

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For years Jews have played the background while standing on their tippy toes just trying to get a glimpse. The Jewish acceptance in hip-hop has always been matched against ambivalence. Sure, years ago you had The Beasties or 3rd Bass’ MC Serch, but the reality really was being Jewish in hip-hop wasn’t exactly cool. Ras Kass once said on “Uni-4-Orm” “Record industry rule numbers one, two, and three/Jews run it/Niggas run around in it/Believe me” and he couldn’t have been more accurate.

Whether it’s Rick Rubin, Lyor Cohen, Clive Davis, Craig Kallman (Atlantic), Doug Morris (Universal), Steve Rifkin (Loud), Drew “Dru Ha” Friedman (Duckdown) or Dave Geffen, Jews have always controlled the music industry, especially the black music industry.

This has called resentment, anti-semitism and years of unwarranted and in many cases very much warranted hate on the Jewish culture and their involvement in such a prominent black art. Regardless of what you may feel, the times have changed. Jews champion anything that has an ounce of Jewish blood. Lenny Kravitz, Kiss, Jane’s Addiction (Perry Farrel), Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, Burt Bacharach, Billy Joel, Lou Reed and David Lee Roth just to name a few. Jews clutch to everything Jew related, much like most cultures do. It’s not only common, it is to be expected otherwise you’d be a race traitor of the highest caliber.

It’s not much different from when millions of Blacks rallied for Obama with the sole motivation of having one of their own be elected as the most powerful man in the world. Its human nature, but being Jewish I’ve always felt that resistance. I didn’t have the flat top. I was never courageous enough to put lines in my fade (see Yelawolf). I always felt trying too hard meant you’d be ridiculed by fellow whites and barely accepted by blacks. Nobody aspires to be Michael Rapaport or MC Serch ya know? So I just quietly enjoyed hip-hop growing up in the Burbs and the closest thing I got to being accepted into the hip-hop culture was wearing Skidz and owning a boom-box with “King of Rock” blasting out of it, after I quickly ejected my Dead Milkman tape.

Growing up I never identified with Jews. I was raised by them, understood their dunn language and to this day feel the values instilled in me has made me a better person. It has prepared me for the world, for relationships and for business. But I never really identified with the culture. Hebrew school lasted just 2 days. No Bar Mitzvah and I couldn’t honestly tell you the last time I stepped inside Synagogue. The appeal was just not there. You know what was? Hip-hop music.

Jews have always been infatuated with the culture. It doesn’t matter which Jewish figure of our era you think of, they grew with hip-hop. Adam Sandler, Sasha Baron Cohen, Jon Stewart or the entire Judd Apatow posse. A few have even attempted a rap career of their own like MTV’s Simon Rex, Max Kellerman, Adrien Brody, Joaquin Phoenix and even Corey Haim (RIP).

Today more and more Jewish rappers and producers are poppin’ up with every new Tweet, Pitchfork interview or Facebook account. From The Beasties to Blood of Abraham we now have Edan, Asher Roth, Paul Barman, The Alchemist, Mark Ronson, Ill Bill, Remedy, Necro, Scott Storch, J.R. Rotem, Mickey Avalon, El Michels and Canada’s favorite Drake. Okay so the track record isn’t all that impressive but you get the point.

While not nearly synonymous, Judaism and hip-hop are starting to finally sync. It was just a few years ago Jay said “Rich niggas/black Bar Mitzvahs/Mazel Tov, it’s a celebration bitches, L’Chayim.” Shortly after the Black Eyed Peas swagger jacked “L’Chayim” into a #1 song and now you have Drake rockin’ a chai on the cover of magazines.

Today everybody’s new favorite rapper’s rapper, Jay Electronica has become hip-hop’s Rod Carew. The man has all the right co-signs. He already has a few hits under his belt (Exhibit A & C). He has plethora of tracks featuring Dilla beats that didn’t actually go to waste and currently he has one of the best producers in the game by his side. Jay Electronica is no new jack. At age 34 he has not only studied the art, but lived it. He’s authentic through and through. Not only that, he looks the part too. Remember back in school when you were captain you’d pick the guy who looked like he could play? Sometimes it didn’t work out that way, but we’ve all picked a person based on their appearance. Jay has it! Not only does he resemble Keith Thornton, but the dude looks like he can just zone the fuck out. When you look at Termanlogy do you get that vibe? I thought so.

So while everybody is going gaga for the man who rhymes with Hannukah, there is an extra incentive people of the Tribe to give a little more love (see Hot 97’s Rosenberg or Shady’s Paul Rosenberg)to the man who made it a little cooler to spit that Hebrewama shit. Jews haven’t rooted this much for a black person since Nell Carter.

We have been waiting years for a moment like this. We once asked for Eminem and instead we got fucking Matisyahu. Finally our time has come… –Jason Gloss

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