During a time when some Jews refrain from listening to live music – Jewish rap super star, Y-Love and beatbox superstar Yuri Lane (who has over 13 millions hits on youtube) create all their music non-instrumentally. The album is an all vocal hip-hop record with over seven tracks to correspond to the seven weeks of the Sefira (Passover-Shavuot). The album is amazingly musical and innovative, with a banging intro and an outro that will make it hard to believe that Yuri Lane’s mouth wasn’t being produced by Timbaland.
Y-Love sat down with The Algemeiner to discuss the kosher hip-hop and Passover rap music.
What’s the idea behind an all rap and beat box album and what was the theme of it?
We wanted to create musical content that all of our fans could enjoy, all year round. Sefira gave us the perfect opportunity to put together an album that everyone could enjoy. Plus, we wanted to do a trip “around the Jewish calendar” where we could make songs relevant for each holiday that would transmit the message of the holiday in a cool format that could be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Combine the two ideas, and you have “Count It”.
Is it strange making a kosher album in what some call an unkosher style?
Not at all. I started doing hip-hop right after my gerus (conversion to Judaism) when I was learning in Ohr Somayach — my chavrusa (study partner) and I would use free-styling and hip-hop as a way to learn Gemara better. I can’t think of any more kosher environment FOR music than learning Torah, in fact. So for me, to say the “style” of hip-hop is unkosher just doesn’t make sense to me in my life. This is more me making a kosher album — in the style of music that started it all for me.
What’s the idea behind the song “Watch”?
Passover is a time of year where there are a lot of elements to the holiday – the Ten Plagues, the 4 Cups, the 4 Sons, the 4 Questions – I wanted to give these elements a musical voice, using hip-hop. ”Watch” is as much an educational tool about Pesach as it is a hip-hop track.
How did you come up with it?
I used to record at a studio in Bushwick where the sound engineer (who is not Jewish) and I would trade ideas about music. Literally I’m in the studio listening to beats of his in between recording sessions and got inspired to the point I just started reciting the makkos/plagues over to myself.
Do you find that there is a scene for kosher Jewish rap music?
Most definitely! I am happy to be able to be one of the originators of the scene which now includes amazing artists like Shyne and Matisyahu. In Ohr Somayach today, there are a number of talented rappers, and it’s the same in every frum area. I’m glad to have been one of the early ones in the beis midrash over a decade ago standing up saying, “no, this IS kosher music.”