Rapping For Israel – London Jewish News
The stereotypical Cambridge student is more Tim Nice But Dim than Tim Westwood. Samuel Green – reading Oriental Studies – is more in the mould of Radio 1’s rap DJ than Harry Enfield’s posh character, rapping as he does under the moniker Antithesis. In another challenge to popular perceptions, Antithesis doesn’t brag about his bling or his women – his lyrics are entirely focused on ‘The Israel Question’ – the name of his latest CD and the focus of his music.
Samuel began writing short raps of his own as a teenager in Surbiton. It may not have been the trailer park where Eminem began writing his raps, but like the foul-mouthed star, he really began to hone his teenage talent performing in song contests. –“When I was 18 I entered a contest where the song lyrics had to be related to Judaism or Israel,” he remembers. His rap ‘Just Peace’ – “which came a respectable third” was the result and the beginning of a lyrical devotion to the State.
If his goal is to touch hearts and minds through his music, Samuel’s alter ego has started off on a positive note: his rap ‘Ima Mechaka Babayit’, an homage to Israel’s Missing in Action soldiers, gained him an introduction to MIA father Chaim Avraham, who demanded that the track be recorded and sold for charity. With its plea for information for the MIA’s “mothers sitting there waiting”, ‘Ima Mechaka Babayit’ touched a raw nerve amongst Jews angry at the lack of information from Hezbollah regarding missing soldiers -“ presumed kidnapped by the organisation” and gained radio airplay here and in Israel.
Now, with the release of the Antithesis CD, the rapper hopes to do even more for the country and its causes. He says: “I hope people of all ages and races will listen to the CD. I want it to galvanise the Jewish community and to promote Israel’s image.”
What’s more, Antithesis is really is putting his money where his rhyming mouth is: all proceeds from ‘The Israel Question’ will be split between the campaign to rescue the MIA soldiers and UJIA’s terror victims support fund – the 20-year-old hopes to raise at least £8,000. It’s a generous offer, not least because he received no funding for the project and was forced to use his own cash to lay down ‘The Israel Question’s’ tracks.
Asked about his influences, the student steers away from not-so-nice Jewish Beastie Boys and names British rappers Task Force and Jehst: “They’ve definitely influenced the way I annunciate my words – they don’t try and pretend they’re American. I also like the Israeli rapper Subliminal; he has a lot of passion in his rhymes.”
But is rap really a good way to address Israel’s troubles – and is the traditional world of Judaism ready for a rapper on a political mission? “Jews have been involved in rap music since the beginning, even if they weren’t always on the microphone,” insists Samuel. “Hip hop is the most popular type of music in the world right now so it makes sense to spread the message that way. The positive response I’ve had from across the community have proved that they’re ready for it.”
The Israel Question is available from www.antithesismc.com