` RadioHazak: Israeli Hip-Hop Debating Gaza
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May 04, 2005

Israeli Hip-Hop Debating Gaza

New Voices:
“Hip-hop everywhere gives a voice to some character of the society that would not be heard in the mainstream media,” says Khen Rotem, an artist who performs under the moniker Sagol 59. Rotem maintains that the Israeli hip-hop community has a rare tolerance for diverse opinions: “I hear many voices,” he says, “from the right and the left, from the Arab side and the Jewish side.”

Back in the circle, the flow is seamless as the mic passes from one bundled-up artist to the next. “In the circle, everyone one wants it to be fun. But I don’t know how to be fun–my lyrics are hard,” says Roi Assayag, adding that he uses his songs to voice his beliefs, no matter how they may differ from what his audience wants to hear. The 25-year-old Jerusalem native, who performs under the name Rocky B, is the most accomplished in the crowd, with two albums under his belt. A green army-style jacket, square-framed dark glasses, and a Jewish afro give him the look of a Semitic Mos Def. The beliefs Assayag expresses through his music are harsh ones: “This is a racist state, defined by blood,” he says. The concept of a Jewish-Israeli left is a fallacy, he feels, because it means accepting racial parameters for participation.

Posted by yudel at May 4, 2005 12:10 PM


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