Punklezmerap (IPU114)

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The world is at war with itself. Politicians believe their own lies. Technology has a mind of its own. Religion does more to divide than to connect. Money talks and makes more sense than most music. Modern art is static and stuck somewhere between self-indulgent advertisement and adolescent propaganda. Hip-hop stands simultaneously in the center and at the edge of the existential crisis that is civilization.

Enter Eprhyme: a rapper with more on his mind than his money; a Jew with issues other than his mother. A cultural nomad with roots in seemingly contradictory cultural contexts, Eprhyme approaches both Judaism and Hip Hop with a profound respect for tradition, balanced by creative freedom and poetic license. Not afraid to experiment or cross boundaries of content and style, Eprhyme blends and juxtaposes seemingly divergent sounds and ideas into a swirling and seamless whole.

"Punklezmerap" is an explosive concoction of classic Klezmer clarinet, an energetic and up tempo club beat, and a hypnotic, wordless chorus sung by artist, activist and author Nomy Lamm. "Punklezmerap" is a musical Mazel tov cocktail. Rapid-fire lyrics carry listeners through Eprhyme's early life experience, evolving sense of identity and artistic development. Moving through hip-hop, punk rock and jazz, the song culminates in a kaleidoscope of creative elements that compose Eprhyme's current state.

"Where the Heart Is" pulls simultaneously at the listener's sense of adventure and exile. Like a fiddler on the roof of the hip-hop generation, Eprhyme calls the listener to the perimeter of self to gaze into the wilderness beyond the boundaries of current experience. The song poses the questions: What else could I be doing? Where else could I be going? Who else could I become? Riding a spacious and subtle electro Klezmer composition, Eprhyme's insightful and effortless rhymes are accompanied by another vocal offering from Nomy Lamm, who delivers a noteworthy reworking of a Jewish classic, reformatted to fit the current beat of collective consciousness. The track is at once evocative and elusive, intended to evoke a state of audio déjà vu – both familiar and ethereal.

Together, these songs create a sort of cultural exchange program, taking the listener through different perspectives and parts of the world, which converge to create something entirely new.

This is Vol. CXIV in K's International Pop Underground Series.