CD Reviews

Black Hattitude
1995 Sameach

This one shot album created by two New York yeshiva students spread quickly through high school yeshivas throughout America. Songs about going on arranged dates, losing your place in line for the shower and being bored out of your mind at a rabbi’s lecture hit home with many. Several young men have told me that they and their dorm mates played the tape repeatedly and their knew all the words by heart.

While not a parody, Black Hattitude exhibits humor in short skits throughout the album. One has an elderly rabbi lecturing on and on in indistinguishable Yiddish. Finally one of the students exacerbates, "Rabbi, I’ll be honest... we don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe you could speak to us in our language?" A funky bass line and beat then kicks in as Black Hattitude raps a Torah lesson.

Along with the humor, there are also politically oriented songs. Demonstration and Esau Hates Jacob hit home such topics the lackluster investigation of the Rabbi Meir Kahane murder and archeologists digging up Jewish graves in Israel. Most foreboding are the pre-September 11th references in lines about the first attack on the World Trade Center and the shooting of Chabad students on the Brooklyn Bridge. Reportedly, one of the two members now lives and teaches in Israel.

The lyrics are all spoken rhythmically to the beat, not sung, with artificial sounding hip-hop accents, (or are they Brooklyn accents?). The lyrics are all in English frequently peppered with Hebrew terms and some verses in straight Yiddish. Musically, the beats are bouncy and fresh, created with booming percussion, and jamming keyboards and synthesizers. A sharp-eared listener might also enjoy a couple “hey! I know that song!” moments as the group pays musical homage to some like-sounding artists.

Selling Out
by Black Hattitude

Rolling down the streets of the Park called Boro
Cruising real slow through the upper class ghetto
Trying to find a line of some kind
What it means to be a Jew in this day in time
Checking out the view on 13th Avenue
Every type of Jew it's really not cool
A pious old man of the European clan
Today's generation he can't understand
Takes great pride in his own Jewish nation
Doesn't really know of the grave situation
Has no clue of what could be lost
Living in the age of spiritual Holocaust
A gabbai in a shul where status is your money
The place is a disgrace and it's really not funny
The men all sit and talk about work
The one who yells "quiet" is treated like a jerk
Week after week it goes this way
The shul is to shmooze never to pray
"Oh there's the one who's the bum by fame"
How do his parents deal with the shame
Oh my G-d rachmona lizlun
That will never happen to my frum son"
Why does it happen I'll tell you all why
Look at these Jews give it a try
All of the principles are Jewish but fake
Praying's not important when the stocks are at stake
Now think about it can't you figure it out
The Jews in the place have all sold out

Now back to the part where I started this jam
I was on 13th when I saw the old man
I'm a rollin' and a rollin' and a rollin'
Down 18th Ave I pass Karlin-Stolin
Cruising my ride up to 65th
Pull over for a man that needed a lift
I ask where are you headed as he jumped in my ride
He goes "not too far just to Avenue I"
Now this was okay because it wasn't that far
I ask what do you do "I sell insurance for cars"
"Insurance for cars hmm let me see
Maybe you do insurance jobs for me"
He goes "sure what do you need I could arrange it for you
We could total your car and make lots of money too"
"Oh really that's your living just to cheat and lie
Get out of the car brother walk to Avenue I"
Here's another like I'm saying without a doubt
Stereotype Jew definitely sold out

I keep cruising my wheels to the Bush of Flat
M. O. territory and all of that
I pull up to a younger looking teenage crowd
Hanging out at the corner and being loud
One's off to Harvard the other to Penn
They'll put on their tefillin every now and then
Then a nice big house white picket fence
Traditional Jews nothing too intense
The kids will go to a public school
Religious training, that's for black hat fools
Come home with a girl "hi my name is Jane"
"We want to get married" simple and plain
"But son" they'll say "she's not even Jewish"
"Come on old man you're sounding so foolish"
I cruise off the curb feeling real disturbed
No one hears what I'm saying it's real absurd
The problem is no one really gives a damn
That's why I sat down and I wrote this jam
So if you hear my call get up and shout
The Jews of the 90's just plain sold out

CD Reviews

Copyright 2003 Jewish Community Radio