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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guess Who...

The following photo was tweeted by a famous bearded musician last Wednesday:

Can you guess who it is?

More info on this freshly shorn singer after the break.
The photo is of former Chassidic rapper, Matisyahu.

Born Matthew Miller, Matisyahu (which translates to Matthew in Hebrew) shot to stardom when his a live version of his tune 'King Without a Crown' hit airwaves in late 2004.  Mixing raggae with rap and lyrics infused with traditional Jewish ideas, he later released two albums, each of which hit number one in the United States.

On his website, Matisyahu said regarding his change in appearance:
"This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter.
No more Chassidic reggae superstar.
Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias.  When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process.  It was my choice.  My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life.  At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth.  I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart.  I am reclaiming myself.  Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.
Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth.  And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair."
It's too early to say whether he has given up Judaism as a whole, or just the Chassidic denomination of it.  He was raised as a Reconstructionist Jew and went to Hebrew school as a child.  It's only as an adult that he decided to become a Chassidic Jew.

Though I don't necessarily agree with Jewish ideology, I thoroughly enjoy Matisyahu's music.  It will be interesting to see what he comes up with in his future endeavors, whether that be as Matisyahu or Matthew Miller.

If you have never had a chance to hear any of his music, take a moment and watch the video to 'King Without a Crown'.  I have to admit, seven years later, it's still a trip to watch sometimes.