Seeing as I’m Jewish and today is Rosh Hashana (I’ll save you a Google search—it’s the Jewish new year), I figured I’d talk something Judaism-related here. Add the fact that J. Cole’s “Villematic” has already hopped in rotation as one of my favorite songs right now, and I decided to touch on some lyrical references to Judaism in hip-hop. They pop up every now and then, and my only real complaint is that we (hip-hop) aren’t creative enough with these yet. Cheap… Rich… Lawyers… That’s about the extent of it.
So for the (Jewish) New Year, let’s step our game up, and have the next reference to Jews or Judaism be a little more creative. This might mean that there’s gonna have to be some studying of the Talmud or the Book of Job to really bring out the best, but I think someone’s got it in ‘em.
So the most overused Jewish stereotypes in hip-hop no particular order…
In Cole’s recent demolition of Kanye’s latest leak, he touches on arguably the most commonly used stereotype.
“Talk is cheap it’s like y’all grew up in a Jewish home/Pardon the stereotype”
You’re pardoned, Jermaine. Props for the attempted political correctness—not that that’s ever been necessary or normal in hip-hop. And I don’t think it was here, either. But I’ll take it.
Jadakiss on “It’s All About The Benjamins.” I’ve always been confused by why this gets bleeped out on many versions of the track. When I was younger I thought this was a reference to pyramid building when the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt. But I don’t think so, I think it’s about stacking chips.
“We see through, that’s why nobody never gon’ believe you/You should do what we do, stack chips like Hebrews.”
In one of his multiple references to Judaism on American Gangster (L’chaim), Jay gets at his Jewish lawyer on “No Hook” to make sure he keeps his money straight.
“Holla at my Jewish lawyer/To enjoy the fruit of lettin’ my cash stack.”
There are, of course, the occasional varied references but, for the most part, this is where it’s at. Drake used Yiddish in “Goin In For Life,” and that’s pretty creative, but he’s half Jewish so I’m not gonna count that.
While we’re at it, one of the best songs digging at stereotypes is Louis Logic’s “The Ugly Truth.” Shouts to George Bush. —Adam Fleischer