On Wednesday, April 25th 2012 an ensemble of seven Jewish performers put on a show at the Museum of Jewish Heritage that broke boundaries. Hip-Hop Reflections, hosted by some of New York’s most flavorful artists including Doron Lev, Rabbi Darkside and 5Pointz’ resident beat boxer Grey Matter, represented the seven weeks of observance and reflection following Passover; a time known as the Omer.
The performance included freestyle, hip-hop monologues, beat boxing and passionate yet comedic spoken word poetry. Unlike anything we’ve seen before this show brought together two cultures that don’t seem to shine together to the public often enough: Hip-Hop and Jewish spirituality. While urban culture has a reputation for being rough around the edges this performance proved that there is a deeply spiritual side to this form of expression.
As Jessica Flietman represented herself as the “Jewish Ambassador” rolling out a slew of poetic comedy addressing many American stereotypes the intimate crowd bellowed out with laughter while a much deeper more serious take was presented by Andrew Gutterson aka Grey Matter. With great pride the youthful beat boxer commanded the stage with a strong presence and a soulful message explaining what his Jewish heritage means to him and how it affected his upbringing. Holding nothing back he shared with us his experiences as an adopted child meeting his biological mother for the first time and how hip-hip played into every moment leading down that path.
Rabbi Darkside, as usual, charmed the crowd as well with his mature stature and smooth words of education binding Jewish history and urban culture together. Alongside him, the rest of the crew, Dyalekt, Michelle Slonim and Tranquill put on an amazing show. For any Jew this was a great way to begin the seven week observance of the Omer and hopefully this will become an annual event. Now is a good time to bridge the gap between the streets and our spirits.