He’s not your average MC, but in the modern era of the varying styles who is? You have the nonsensical slurpy style of Danny Brown, the doggedly talented wordsmith with the cool slow flow by the name of Kendrick Lamar, or the hard hitting in your face, take no prisoners bombast from Killer Mike, or his collaboration with El-P’s titled Run The Jewels, just to name the selected few that this good ol’ Jew is banging now. Being from a family who has prided itself in relishing in all that is off the beaten path, including having friends who show me such flicks as Combat Shock and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I love the different.
MC Nissim Black is one of those MC’s who is different and has changed his lifestyle and ways to worship by converting to Judaism. The MC, formally known as D. Black, hails from Seattle and lived the harsh realities of life, seeing death and tragedy while translating it onto paper, and later into the said. I cannot tell his story to the fullest because you should check it out on his website where you hear the words coming from the man’s mouth. This is an interesting phenomenon because the art of Hip Hop is usually considered rather a-religious as the artists rap about the material things in life, which seems devoid of any soul or spiritual depth. I’ve had many arguments with fellow colleagues and Rabbis about this and they all tow the line of the negativity of the art form. I do agree that the Hip Hop formula, made popular by the white corporate powers, is filled with this objectification of women, homophobia, violence, and nihilism all wrapped with a bow of antipathy. However, there is plenty of Hip Hop, and the artists, who are deep and spiritual…you just haven’t heard much about them. We should always remember that many MC’s in the 1980’s and 1990’s identified with the Nation of Islam or the five percenters like Brand Nubian, KMD, The Wu-Tang Clan, Divine Styler, Rakim, and the Poor Righteous Teachers.
There are plenty other artists who have used the illusion, or delusion of religion through Christianity. One of the most recent example is Kanye West’s latest album Yeezus and the many lyrics laced with religious motifs. Like the talented and very friendly Nissim, there are other Jewish MC’s who are religious but are such a niche that they gain little traction with the greater audiences. I think they should get that chance without seeming too distant from the true spirit of Hip Hop, G-d willing. I should add that it’s also the Jewish hipsters who have dumped on these artists as well. Heeb magazine, for example, is a shlocky tabloid-ish read, but it has very interesting content. But, after reading a small snippet written that shitted on Jewish MC’s I felt very aggravated. These wannabe hip Jews, who aren’t even originally from NYC are far from the ambassadors of cool. There should be much more positive feedback because pessimistic Jews don’t go nowhere, fast.
Anyway, much love and please check these guys out. This is a link to Nissim’s website: Nissim’s website
And a video: http://www.nissimofficial.com/media/#prettyPhoto/1/