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Youth- one of the stronger albums of 2006?
on 29 April 2006
If I told you there existed a Hasidic Jew with full beard and yarmulke who rapped about the virtues of Judaism, you would think I was crazy. Yet Matisyahu is such an artist, and sophomore album Youth has already seen him break into the mainstream on the other side of the Atlantic.
Matisyahu is unique, as his style embraces in equal measure hip-hop, classic Bob Marley-esque reggae and impressive guitar work. All whilst remaining true to his Jewish roots, with his songs full of religious and spiritual references. Standout songs include the excellent "King Without A Crown", the inspirational "Jerusalem", and the title track, where one is urged to "take a stand, fan the fire for the flame of Youth".
Jolly, jubilant, judicious in terms of composition, Youth shows that "jamming" can be both Jewish and joyous. Far from being a joke, it is actually pretty damn good.
In all, this could well go on to be one of the strongest albums of 2006, especially if Youth captures our imagination the way it has done so Stateside. Certainly, it's actually a pleasant change to hear someone who sings from the heart about genuine Judaism, rather than the faux Kabbalah we get from "certain artists".