Jewish rappers come from almost every corner of the globe. Some rap in Hebrew, others in their native language. Apart from faith, their sheer talent also connects these artists.
While we know Drake is the biggest, and possibly best Jewish rapper in the world, he’s not the only cat in town.
Let's check out the best Jewish rappers and discover the musical mayhem and lyrical prowess they bring to the table.
1. Lil Dicky
Although Lil Dicky's music might not be everyone's cup of tea, it's impossible to ignore the fact that he is one of the most popular and successful Jewish rappers of the last decade.
It's true that Lil Dicky (David Andrew Burd) didn't revolutionize rap music to the same extent as Tupac or Notorious B.I.G. But he did kickstart a new niche rap genre for North American (and eventually, international) listeners; highly comedic and self-aware Jewish rap.
His 2015 debut album, Professional Rapper, is still iconic thanks to its gut-busting lyrics and high-profile collaborations.
Israeli rapper Subliminal (Ya'akov Shimony) started producing albums in 2000, making him one of the most well-established Jewish rappers in the world. His rap music has inspired multiple generations of rap artists, including up-and-coming Israeli rap star Jeremy Cool Habash.
Although he's best known for his 2002 hit “Haor Vehazel (The Light & The Shadow),” Subliminal still performs and records regularly. His most recent album is the 2017 Hebrew hip-hop masterpiece Tzeva Lahaim (צבע לחיים).
3. Nissim Black
Nissim Baruch Black (also called D. Black) wasn't born into a Jewish family. But he was born into a family of talented musicians.
At the age of only 13, he began producing rap tracks. By the time he'd turned 21, he'd released his first studio album, The Cause & Effect. So, when he converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2011, it didn't take long for him to start producing Jewish rap music.
This transition was fraught with challenges, but that didn't stop Nissim from releasing unique tracks like “The Black Miracle,” “King of the World,” and “Hashem Melech 2.0.” Notably, Nissim Black has collaborated with several other Jewish rappers and hip-hop artists, including Kosha Dillz.
4. Kosha Dillz
Kosha Dillz (Rami Matan Even-Esh) might have been born in New Jersey, but he wholeheartedly embraces his Israeli-Jewish background, rapping in Yiddish and Hebrew (as well as English and Spanish).
His music style is a significant departure from many other Jewish rappers, featuring a strong focus on freestyle rap over more structured hip-hop tracks. Kosha Dillz combines traditional and contemporary aesthetics like no other Jewish rap artist, and he's a born performer, combining an innate sense of comedic timing with undeniable hip-hop swag.
Like Lil Dicky, Matisyahu (Matthew Paul Miller) is an American Jewish rapper whose music has climbed the charts, making him one of the most mainstream Jewish artists in the United States.
Best known for his hit single “King Without A Crown,” Matisyahu has a complex musical style that borrows elements of reggae, alt-rock, and hip-hop. “King Without A Crown” is Matisyahu’s most popular song, hitting number seven on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and 28 on Billboard Hot 100.
Matisyahu was born into the Reconstructionist Jewish faith. He rebelled against his Jewish upbringing as a young man. He later re-embraced his faith, allowing it to help influence his lyrical style and content, as seen with tracks like “Akeda” and “Vow of Silence (Shalom).”
6. Ravid Plotnik
Several of the best Jewish rappers are from the United States. But a few up-and-coming Israeli artists are starting to put Israel on the map in terms of Hebrew rap music.
Ravid Plotnik (also called Nechi Nech) might be one of the most influential of these Israeli rap artists. His primary musical inspiration is fellow Jewish rap artist Subliminal, and that early inspiration shows in the heady hip-hop beats that feature throughout Plotnik's tracks.
The 2017 album Shefel Ve'Geut (שפל וגאות) is one of Ravid Plotnik's most popular releases, containing popular tracks like “Kol Ha Zman Haze.” His experimental rap and hip-hop are enjoyed by people all over the world.
7. Chilly Gonzales
Chilly Gonzales (Jason Charles Beck) is far more than a Canadian Jewish rapper. He's a multi-talented Grammy-nominated musician and performer. Along with his rap talent, he composes classical piano pieces, produces electronic music, and collaborates with pop artists regularly.
He's collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Daft Punk and Drake, and he's a deft hand at the piano. Although Chilly Gonzales primarily produces pop and hip-hop music nowadays, you can explore his talent for rap by listening to his 2003 album, Z, in which he combines his piano-playing talent with his lyrical mastery.
If you're a fan of Russian hip-hop and rap, you'll want to check out Oxxxymiron (Miron Yanovich Fyodorov). The plosive sounds in both Russian and Hebrew make for exciting and engaging rap, so Oxxxymiron’s songs are excellent songs for pumping you up.
This Jewish rapper has produced some of the most influential and celebrated Russian rap albums of the last 20 years, including 2011's The Wandering Jew. However, he's probably best known for his YouTube rap battle videos. His 2022 track, “BASSLINE BUSINESS,” features a mixture of Russian and English lyrics.
Hebro (Raphael Ohr Chaim Fulcher) grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His parents practiced Orthodox Judaism, which helped shape his faith and outlook, inspiring him to study in Israel as a young man.
This rapper's diverse and complex background helped shape his music style, which borrows elements from a wide variety of genres, including reggae and EDM (electronic dance music). Although he's yet to experience widespread commercial success, Hebro manages to modernize ancient Jewish stories and beliefs via his earworm tracks.
10. Jeremy Cool Habash
While many Jewish rappers prefer to rap in English, Russian, or Spanish, Jeremy Cool Habash only raps in Hebrew and Amharic (the most popular language in Ethiopia).
He's an Ethiopian Jewish rapper whose music primarily focuses on Judaism, which is another aspect differentiating him from other Jewish rap contemporaries. His style is a novel mix of reggae, rap, and hip-hop.
Jeremy Cool Habash has made some big waves in Israel, and he could become your new favorite Jewish rap artist. Although he doesn't have any official album releases, you can still jam out to his music online.
Unlike many other Jewish rappers, Shyne (Moses Michael Levi Barrow) wasn't born into the Jewish faith. Instead, he converted to Judaism in the early 2000s while serving a prison sentence for assault charges.
His successful debut album, which was at least partially backed by P. Diddy (Sean Combs), hit the charts in 2000. Less than a year later, Shyne was convicted and sent to jail. Sadly, this means that he never got to enjoy that initial rise to fame.
Still, Shyne has released music on and off since his release, most recently (as in 2012) releasing a mixtape called Gangland. However, his interest in politics might be responsible for the sudden lack of new tracks.
12. Yoni Wolf
The addition of Yoni Wolf's name to this list might be slightly controversial. After all, Yoni Wolf (Jonathan Avram Wolf) doesn't rap in the same vein as artists like Lil Dicky, Subliminal, or D. Black. His work has more of an artistic feel, his rapid rhymes blending into unique and engaging music.
That said, Yoni Wolf's unique blend of indie rock and hip-hop and his Dylan-esque lyrical style make him a musical treasure that people shouldn't overlook. His trip-over-the-tongue rap style is glaringly apparent in tracks like “The Fall of Mr. Fifths,” a poetic song from the 2008 hit album Alopecia.
13. Mayer Hawthorne
But this California-based artist isn't above collaborating, and some of his relaxed, easy-listening tracks have enjoyed new lives as multi-genre rap tracks. Take the 2012 reimagining of his 2011 song, “The Walk,” for example. This song hits in all the right ways, featuring British hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and an updated beat.
Timati (Timur Ildarovich Yunusov) is another Russian rapper of Jewish descent. He gained fame starring in the Russian reality television show Star Factory 4. His popularity is primarily in Europe, with the height of his career being a solo show in Moscow that sold out an Olympic stadium.
Along with his music career, Timati also owns several businesses, including a clothing brand and a coffee shop line.
Y-Love (Yitz Jordan) is an American rapper that uses a myriad of language to convey social and political themes in his songs. He is an openly gay artist and received criticism from many of his faith for being active in the hip-hop scene.
Y-Love uses English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Latin in his songs, conveying strong Jewish themes throughout his work. He relies primarily on freestyling and considers rap a spiritual art.
Top Jewish Rappers, Final Thoughts
Although Jewish backgrounds or active beliefs in Judaism connect these Jewish rappers and hip-hop artists, each has a unique lyrical and musical style that makes them unique. If you’re looking for new music with heavy beats and spitfire lyrics, the discographies of the best Jewish rappers will definitely have what you’re looking for.