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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Monday, March 14, 2005
Over the past few weeks I had been losing my faith in Hip-Hop due to all the violence that’s been going on. I was sick of hearing about 50 and Game shooting at each other and Jada getting stuck up and all the other nonsense that major outlets want the masses to think Hip-Hop is. I was really at the end of my rope. Thankfully, last night I had two tickets to see Subliminal at BB Kings in NYC. Subliminal is Tel-Aviv’s top selling MC. I interviewed him a few months back and not only is there an incredibly long version of the interview up on ReactMag.com, but I also wrote a smaller piece for the next issue of XXL. I had been talking with Subliminal’s people and everything was set up for me to see the show and meet up with the guys (and girls) afterwards. This was something I was pretty hyped for.

As soon as my friend and I walked into BB Kings we realized this concert was going to be a little bit different. Actually we figured that out from the line outside that was full of young kids in yarmulkes. Once inside there was a long row of tables that different Jewish organizations had set up. Friends of Israel Scouts, American Friends of IDC, Stand With Us, Pardes (who hooked me up with a dope pen when I was in need), Livnot and WUJS-Arad were all in a long row facing the bar. Even though I have no plans of going to Israel I spoke with many of the people from the tables just to get a feel for what they were doing. After speaking with them I realized how important Subliminal is. Not only is he a dope MC, but he’s got all these organizations at his show looking to make a difference in his country. I can’t remember the last time I went to a show and saw such community involvement. It’s a beautiful thing.

A little after 9:00 PM Subliminal hit the stage (see a Hip-Hop show can start on time!). Though the majority of the show was in Hebrew, Subliminal, and the rest of the TACT Records crew, had an intensity about them that broke through the language barrier. Seeing and hearing a crowd gathered for such positive music and chanting about needing peace in the middle east reminded me again of why I do what I do. Don’t let the looks of the audience fool you, that show was pure Hip-Hop and was probably the most Hip-Hop show America will see this year.

When I say "don’t let the looks of audience fool you" it’s because I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t like to admit when white people know more than a little about Hip-Hop. The crowd gathered last night was probably 90% white, many of them young Jewish kids, but the way they chanted those lyrics and were engrossed by what was on stage reminded me of the first times I saw Hip-Hop in it’s truest form. My basic feeling once the show started was that everyone at BB Kings that night was Hip-Hop and anyone who disagrees isn’t. Mainstream radio doesn’t get it, and if all you listen to is what radio plays I have a message for you: I know 13 year old Jewish kids who know more about Hip-Hop than you! (and it’s freakin beautiful!)

After the show I searched out for my contacts and as karma would have it, found David Levy, President and Co-Owner of TACT Records, almost instantaneously. He led my friend and I backstage where we hung out with the artists. Not only was the whole TACT Records crew there but Miri Ben-Ari, who absolutely killed it when she went through a dozen current hits with her violin during the show, and Wu-Tang affiliates Remedy and Killah Priest were also chillin backstage. Of course we got numerous pics with everyone (I ended up shooting nearly 50 flicks with the digital camera, I’ll get those up soon) including great pics with me and Miri and me and Sivan Benham, who is even more gorgeous in person and can really sing her arse off. Backstage I also met Levy’s sister and ended up having one of the best conversations about Hip-Hop that I’ve ever had with anyone. We debated which years were better, 93-94 or 96-97 (both have their great points) and traded stories about concerts and which underground artists nobody knows about are our favorites. I told her I’d hit her off with some albums (gotta get Substantial Evidence and Production 9401 out to her ASAP) and she said she’d hook me up with some dope people out in LA. In all honesty that conversation could have gone on all night had I not had a train to catch.

All in all last night turned out to be one of the most rewarding concert experiences of my life. At the majority of shows I go to all I hear is "fuck" "shit" "bitch" and "nigga" eight thousand times and leave with a negative feeling. Last night's show, on the other hand, left me high on Hip-Hop. Not to get too preachy, but it seems just when I was feeling most down and out God reached down and gave me a swift smack in the back of the head and reminded me why I love this so much. Thank you for that, God, thank you for reminding me Hip-Hop is still alive and well. The fact that it’s getting harder and harder to find only makes it that much more beautiful and amazing once it’s found.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:29 PM  
  • At 5:55 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I like Miri Ben Ari.Do you know when her upcoming album will drop?

    Ah,Hip hop...I am tired of hearing about hos,sex,drugs and partying and all this "I'm hard" and "I'm a thug" nonsense.A lot of people can't even relate to that.A good majority of rap/hip hop lyrics are crap-no CRAP.For example,Trilville's "Some Cut".The beat is dope,but the lyrics...as soon as I hear them,I feel like switching the song.Actually,most Lil'Jon songs are like that.Hip hop song lyircs are currently lacking in substance.

    Jews and Hip Hop is not something I would have ever put together.That's real neat.That concert had to be too cool.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    The other day I turned on the radio on my way to the gym and heard Pharoahe Monch's "Simon Says" followed by a little Mos Def and capped off with some old Busta Rhymes. It was a great feeling to hear those songs and again and remind myself of why Hip-Hop is so beautiful.

    And to answer your question, there's no set release date yet for Miri's upcoming album, but Clinton Sparks just released a mix-cd of her work.

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