Review: Ta-Shma, Come Listen|
Hasidic Jewish hip-hop duo, in the vein of Matisyahu. Does a skillful job taking a traditional Jewish feel and putting it in a hip-hop setting. Powerful electronic beats back up sound melodic vocals reminiscent of the early days of modern Judaism. Somewhat awkward at times, with the lyrical intention of inciting a modern-day Hasidic revolution, but that is the nature of the genre. Overall a very well put-together piece, with a varied, innovative sound, insightful lyrics, and an accessible message. Terrific on both a serious and somewhat comedic level. Whole CD is FCC clean.
1. Somewhat haunting vocals set the tone. Flowing, dark beat. Lyrics concern rising up in revolution, seven life tips. Very driven beat, with two part harmony.
2. Begins with Hebrew chanting, adds slow beat. Matisyahu solo 1:46 – 2:30. Continues haunting feel of the first, reminiscent of an anthem of sorts. Good driving song.
*3. Catchy acoustic guitar trill riff, multilayered overlaid vocals. Both a rap solo and a guitar solo. Unique approach to a softer kind of slow jam hip-hop, very listenable. Upbeat and relaxing.
*4. Begins with compelling klezmer-inspired clarinet work by Andy Statman. Slow, deliberate beat. Rap is heavier here than before, clarinet continues through song.
5. A break-filled violin riff backs gangster style vocals with lyrics about the ten commandments. Somewhat repetitive
6. Continues in gangster vein of previous track. Discordant, breaks, effects make vocals sound transmitted. Hip-hop artist E-Shy solos from 1:31 – 2:18, sings like Eminem about King David.
7. Xylophone blends into more two-part harmony, Hebrew prayer chanting. Mid-tempo beat with faster singing, rap solo. Obscure reference to abortion at 3:23.
*8. More amazing klezmer clarinet work by Andy Statman, followed up by piano. Impassioned, slower. Probably “most Jewish” track on the whole album: “It’s 10:00, where’s your torah?”. Melancholy but powerful.
9. Featuring singer Y-Love, this track has a nice hook to it. Key lyrics: “Before I pray, put money in the pushka, every day, learn another sugya.” Melodic chorus, tells a story. Extended rap from Y-Love.
10. Minor key classical violin gives the track a fuller sound. Rap concerns somewhat charged political message: “Proud Jews use your mouths”. Again, a darker track.
11. Electric guitar, tuba, slow tempo. Angrier sounding vocals, at first, but recedes to punctuated beat with trip hop.
*12. More 1970s guitar trill, similar to 2. Best lyric in any of these songs: “if yo mama, is Jewish, that means you’re Jewish too.” Funk-like feel, but still unique sound.
13. Echoing klezmer fiddle , relatively busy track. Again, political lyrics, somewhat weak ending.
Review by Professor Barnaby J. Finkerton