Nazi concentration camp in Poland by
walking to Russia.
In the song "Listen to My Demo," he
raps: Like my grandma walked the earth
/ To ensure my own birth / Of course
blessed from the best / My mother came
Another song, "CNN" (which stands
for Clearly Not the News), was written
as a reaction to witnessing the bloody
aftermath of a 2001 Tel Aviv suicide
bombing that left 21 people dead.
Sneakas' lyrics also highlight his belief
that good rap does not have to be
misogynistic. Also from his album Listen
to My Demo:
Yo, the first thing I hate / Is that rap
has become tasteless / We look at
women's bodies / And act like they are
The layering of heavy bass with other
instruments including piano and even
sitar creates more complex beats than
what is typically heard on mainstream
Sneakas was classically trained in bass
and drums, but it was always clear to
him that hip-hop would be the platform
for his lyrics. He and his mother emi-
grated from Israel to the United States in
1993, when he was 12. His deep voice
still bears a faint trace of an Israeli
"I found myself immersed and
belonging to hip-hop culture, and at
some point it transcended race and
social status for me," he said. "I felt like
I understood it, even though my back-
ground was so different from that of
other hip-hop artists."
Despite feeling at home within hip-
hop culture, Sneakas admits that there is
a strain of anti- SemitiSm within it. "But
I try to challenge [those] stereotypes in
my music, and not just in a serious way
but in humorous ways, too," he said.
In 2002, he guest MC-ed on the
Israeli hip-hop single "Non-Stop" by his
friend Subliminal, which was later certi-
fied gold — for selling 20,000 . copies —
on the Israeli pop charts. In the song,
which praises the international capabili-
ties of hip-hop music's "local flow on a
global track," Sneakas first showcased
the fast flow of his MC style while giv-
ing shout-outs to all of the hip-hop
artists who had ever inspired him.
After the success of "Non-Stop," he
realized he wanted to try to make it in
the U.S. His mother sent his lyrics to an
acquaintance, Yaron Fuchs, an owner-
producer at New York's Nu-Media
music production company.
'As soon as I read his lyrics, I was
blown away and signed him on," said
Fuchs, whose clients include Bob Dylan
Sneakas is currently finishing his first
album, tentatively titled In Itfir the
Rosh tlasharlah Yom Kippur-2003
headlined at a Beersheba concert to per-
form his hit song "Never Again."
He says the song, which has sold
more than a million copies worldwide,
was inspired by the plight of family
members who were deported to Nazi
concentration camps, never to be
Given the threat of terrorism, Israelis
appreciated his decision to perform in
Israel, Remedy says.
"A lot of people came up to us, said
how grateful they were that we came
now," he recalls.
"We came to spread hip-hop from
New York to Israel," he says. "It's how
the new generation communicates."
Hip-hop, he notes approvingly, "is
getting big in Israel now."
Israeli rapper and producer Shulu,
who has created several hip-hop compi-
lation CDs, explains that hip-hop is
popular in Israel because it provides an
opportunity for people to say what they
"Israelis like to talk; Jews like to talk,"
he says with a laugh. "It works. I I
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