(idea submitted by Adam R.)
Part of the modus operandi for any Jewish Young Adult is the need to feel cool and hip. Unfortunately, many of the sources of coolness, like the catwalks of Iceland, the cutting edge fashion of underground hiphop, or the world of avant-garde Japanese house-ware design, are slightly out of reach for the average JYA. Granted, a lot of JYA’s are early adopters of coolness, and wear it proudly all across the Lower East Side and in Williamsburg, but the reality is that a few select JYAs actually create coolness. Fortunately, JYAs across the planet have found a convenient outlet in the form of Matisyahu, who allows them to feel like they are cool.
Matisyahu, nee Matthew Paul Miller, is a Hasidic reggae musician famous for infusing rock, hip-hip, and traditional Jewish themes. The artists went from being a virtual novelty to an overnight success after JYA favorites Phish invited him onstage for a set at Bonnaroo 2005. Since then the artist has blown up, playing to sold out crowds of JYAs from Toronto to Tel Aviv.
Matisyahu’s appeal is obvious. He gives JYAs some coolness credibility, while at the same time allows them to stay close to home and avoid risking questionable scenes of scary looking gangsters or grubby hipsters. JYA “Jessica” summed up this sentiment after attending a Matisyahu concert in Cleveland, stating in glee “Oh My God, I feel so hard core! I’m totally like a deadhead now!”