Matisyahu, the 29-year old Hassidic jew MC is an artist that thrives on innovation. He sprang into American consciousness in 2004 with his debut album Shake off the Dust… Arise, an intriguing blend of spirituality and raw power. His Torah-inspired lyrics have mainstreamed Reggae, while giving audiences exposure to the dynamism of the Jewish faith.
Part of the reason Matisyahu is so well received by the Jewish Community is because he believes he represents something new is Jewish life: a successful Jewish figure that retained his beliefs in the face of stardom. Matis describes his latest effort, Shattered, as an in-depth study of the philosophical and deeply spiritual aspects of the Hassidic movement, highlighting to some core themes about God and this world existentially, though not as heavily based on scripture.
These uplifting themes obviously resonate with many kinds of listeners. In 2006, Esquire magazine called him “the most intriguing Reggae artist in the world." But he deftly avoids some of the pitfalls that plague other religiously-themed music, which may be the reason behind his popularity.
He plays Bogarts with K'naan and Trevor Hall. Read a full interview here.