For over a year I have been almost exclusively listening to Jewish music and artists, submerging myself into all things Jewish. I have found so much god music from Klezmer to rock, from pop to hip hop, and all points in-between. Though I have found dozens upon dozens of incredibly talented Jewish musicians and artists, I do have my favorites.
I grew up on hip hop and later became reacquainted with it after leaving my previous life behind, but when I began the conversion process, a lot of the hip hop I listened to wasn’t appropriate. This was also the case with a lot of the hyper-sexualized and sometimes disrespectful pop music I once listened to… so when I found incredible Jewish hip hop and pop music, I fell in love. I also found a plethora of wonderful acapella music, sometimes using beatboxing for the music.
Nissim Black – A rapper with as amazing a backstory as the amazing love he has for HaShem. An ex-gangster who went on a spiritual journey and found himself a spiritual home in Hassidic Judaism and has since made the absolute most wonderful and dedicated music. I had the opportunity to meet Nissim Black during his Bright Lights tour and he is also such a kind and down-to-earth individual as well. If you like hip hop or even music in general, you’re going to LOVE Nissim Black. My favorite artist today, bar none! *****
Kosha Dillz – The hardest working rapper ever, spitting freestyle raps… well everywhere! His music has a huge range from the funny, to the absolutely heartfelt… he is also the only rapper I know of that has rapped in Spanish, Hebrew, and English in the same song. When we got back from seeing him live, I had to jump on his Bandcamp page and buy his album on vinyl to add to my collection, and am so glad I did. *****
Westside Gravy – I met and heard Westside Gravy for the first time when he opened for Nissim Black and Kosha Dillz on the bright lights tour and was blown away. His energy is palpable, his rhymes are as tight live as they are on recordings and his music will get you moving 100% of the time. ****
Gad Elbaz – One of the first Jewish artists that I truly fell in love with outside of the classical songs, and it’s because of him that I branched out and found so many more modern Jewish artists. From classical Jewish songs to modern dance tracks Gad Elbaz is an incredible force in music! His presence, voice, and energy are unmatched and you’d be hard-pressed to find many other artists with as impressive a music catalog or varied a fanbase. *****
Yossi Rodal – Although his catalog isn’t as extensive as others on this list, I absolutely love the songs he’s recorded and honestly hope to hear more from him in the future. His song “Proud Jew,” is easily one of my top ten tracks to play in our household. ****
Matisyahu – I found Matisyahu a long time ago, long before my conversion process, and was instantly hooked. While his older music was more reggae, his newer music is reggae-infused rock, and all of it is absolutely incredible. So much so, that Matisyahu was for me, an utterly mind-blowing experience the first time I’d heard him. You will not find a bland or underwhelming track on a Matisyahu album, every single piece of music he’s put out has been outstanding! *****
8th day – If you’re ever feeling down, listen to almost anything by 8th day and you’ll be smiling and dancing soon enough. The music and lyrical content of 8th day are so uplifting that you cannot be in any semblance of a negative state while listening to them. ****
Nefesh mountain – NM is technically bluegrass, but they are the only bluegrass I absolutely adore. Utterly infectious musically and lyrically, Nefesh Mountain remakes many classical Jewish songs into something new and beautiful. ****
Maccabeats – The Maccabeats are a group of incredible vocalists who formed at Yeshiva university and who records across genres. Maccabeats are acapella done expertly; often using sounds by mouth to form music they sing over, and you’d hardly tell the difference from real instruments. *****
Six13 – Six13 is a six-man acapella group that is absolutely amazing and absolutely talented. They have done broadway styled tracks, pop tracks, rock tracks, and more, all in the acapella style. ****