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Mook E
Shma Israel
2002 Shabak Music
NMC Music Ltd
Back in 1995 the world hadnít heard of "rap-metal", Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park, but that was the year Israelís Shabak Samech released their first album. They rapped on party-minded tracks with titles like Straight Outta Yavne and Menace To Society, and took on hip-hop names like Mookie D and Plompy B. But their grinding electric guitars and funk bass lines gave them a unique sound.

Thatís what makes Shma Yisrael, the first solo album from Shabak Samechís singer interesting. Instead of odes to wine, women and song, Mookie Koslon, or Mook E as he is now called, sings reggae style about peace and the environment.

Songs like Roots Natty and Where Dem Girls At can come across as fake sounding and reminiscent of the non-Jamaican Canadian reggae singer Snow known for the hit single Informer. The acoustic roots ballads are good, in particular The Earth is Crying and Canít See. Other songs have a hard hip-hop or dancehall-reggae sound.

The most well known track off the album is Talkiní About Peace. Takeing a cue from Jamaica's Peter Tosh, the chorus reads: "Everybody is talking about peace, nobody is talking about justice / For the one it is heaven / For the other hell." Itís a song that could lead to multiple interpretations. Mook E isn't the only singer who has mellowed it out this year. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, it seems that some Israelis are beginning to sing a different tune, including former hard core rap-rockers.



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