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Kosher beef between two rappers
Is Drake in the midst of a kosher beef with Matisyahu?
February 18th, 2011
02:10 PM ET

Kosher beef between two rappers

By Mark Marino, Special to CNN

Forget the war of words between 50 Cent and Dr. Dre, and even Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj — a new rap feud is about to begin between Jewish musicians Drake and Matisyahu.

In a new interview with TMZ, reggae rapper Matisyahu disses Drake as not being true to his roots.

"He's Jewish, but he's not representing Judaism," says the artist formerly known as Matthew Paul Miller.

"He happens to be Jewish, just like Bob Dylan happens to be Jewish, just like anyone happens to be Jewish. What I'm doing is really tapping into my roots and culture and trying to blend that with mainstream society and culture. So his being Jewish is just a byproduct, really. He's not representing that."

Matisyahu performs at a concert in 2009.

Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, might disagree. The son of an African American father and a Jewish mother, he was raised in the heavily Jewish Forest Hill section of Toronto, went to a Jewish day school, and even had a bar mitzvah.

Today, he wears a diamond-studded Chai, a symbol of the Jewish word for life, and has his mother pressuring him to marry "a nice Jewish girl," according to Heeb magazine.

While it appears Matisyahu may not be down with Drake's Jewishness, he does admit that he admires his talent.

"Drake is pretty good, man. He's got his thing but it's different than what I do. It's a different type of thing. As an MC, he's got me," he told TMZ. But he adds, "He doesn't have the reggae thing that I've got."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Culture & Science • Judaism • Kosher • Music

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. al rabideau

    to cut the budget we need to pull out of afganastan,and iraq,quit spending money and men and women.and take care of ourself.i am on ssd and am worried about losing my benefet,s.go back to they way we were in 85 and before,only use the military when needed.these people in other countrys are just using us up.

    February 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  2. mark

    WoW I don't know what names worse Matthew Paul Miller or Aubrey Drake Graham. But beside that Drake isn't full Jew so he really shouldn't be called out for not going overboard Jew. But I am a Drake fan so I decided to post this comment through my Blackberry.

    February 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  3. jkabooi

    Ur all fake jews

    February 20, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  4. jay ENY

    Do what u love ... and be the best in Wat u do .. good luck , keep making that great music ... peace .

    February 20, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  5. d

    Rather than celebrate diversity in the Jewish community, classy CNN bills this as a school yard showdown! Another fine example of journalism CNN! Well done! Matis...jus' cool man

    February 20, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  6. Name*shadowsock13

    Man I'm glad we have all these idiots waste our time on. Life is good *_*

    February 20, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  7. mack!

    "Blood of abraham" is a dope jewish "hip hop" group!

    February 20, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  8. Julawta

    Is Nicki Minaj a Jew too?

    February 20, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  9. rap sucks

    How about some real news for a change?

    February 20, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  10. rap sucks

    Ive never heard of matisyahu and drake can suck it

    February 20, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  11. shelly

    R U PEOPLE SERIOUS? SO WHAT DRAKE ISN'T REPPIN HIS RELIGION N HIS MUSIC. HE'S A RAPPER NOT A GOSPEL ARTIST!! ALSO 4DA OTHER COMMENTERS WHO FEEL DA NEED 2MAKE JOKES ABOUT 2JEWISH RAPPERS, U R IGNORANT &IT'S NOT FUNNY!!

    February 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  12. Reality

    Only for the those interested in a religious update:-

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    "New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adu-lterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    4. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism.

    Current problems:

    The caste system and cow worship/reverence.

    6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    February 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  13. yo, yo, yo

    Who cares, CNN is just trying to create drama. BTW the people that say but Drake is black, first of all hes half white, second of all the only reason why the majority of Jews are white because their ancestors mixed with Europeans a long time ago. Back in the day they were dark skinned. What's left of some of the dark skinned people who follow the Jewish faith can be found in Ethiopia.

    February 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  14. Los

    I completely disagree with what Matisyahu is quoted as saying. Drake is at the top of the commercial rap game. I don't like Drake, but I give him the respect he deserves as an artist. Matisyahu, on the other hand, is NOT at the top of reggae in any capacity. I hesitate to call what he does reggae at all. News flash for Mr. Yahu – Jamaican Patois is a real language and it is very disrespectful to imitate a language to disingenuously borrow some sort of cultural authenticity. It is immediately apparent that Matisyahu does not speak Jamaican English at all, let alone Jamaican Patois. That would be like if I put out a record of Buddhist Mariachi music, sang in a fake Spanish accent, and made up words that end in -o, just to market my dedication to the Dharma. In other words, Matisyahu is FAKE reggae, where as Drake is REAL commercial rap. As far as putting on some sort of minstrel show of your religion, however, Matisyahu certainly wins in that category. All that's missing from his act is full black face a la Amos and Andy, or a Groucho Marx nose and glasses disguise.

    February 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • gasly130

      Actually, Matisyahu fuses Reggae with Rock, Hip-hop some Afro-beats and beat boxing as well as jazz scat singing, Hebrew and Yiddish. His Jewish Roots are also infused within his music. He also has credibility within legitimate Reggae circles which include the likes of Lowell Dunbar and Robert Shakespeare aka. Sly and Robbie who produced his album...these two men have produced some of the world's best Reggae tracks, played on thousands of the world's best Reggae and non-reggae tracks and are legitimate musicians (trend setters (Dunbar aka. Drumbar popularized the double tap on the snare drum rim, most live hip-hop drummers use today.)) in their own right. These guys are not hack and woulod not work with someone who would disrespect their culture or heritage. So, he's (Matisyahu) not at the top of the Reggae "game" so to speak, but it doesn't lower the legitimacy of his musicianship. Brittney Spears, Justin Bieber, Milli Vanilli have been to the top of their "games" but it doesn't mean that they are legit. Being at the top doesn't make you legit. Its the quality of the work produced. I bet Bieber didn't think a non-commercial singer, bass-player, college professor like Esperanza Spalding would take the Grammy people guaranteed was his; he's commercial, @ the top of the "pop" game and everybody knows who he is, but legitimacy carries more weight in a popularity contest when you have substance to back it up. Hundreds of amazing talented musicians and artists have died in obscurity and left behind a rich legacy of music. So next time, before you rip into Matisyahu, and/or any other non-conventional or non-commercial musicians, check your facts...

      February 20, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  15. unitwan

    That is one ugly dude. How did he end up in hollywood?

    February 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bill

      What do looks have to do with musical talent you slack-jawed cretin?

      February 20, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  16. sonia

    the way cnn wrote this story sounds like they are trying to start a fued.everything matisyaha said is true except him not being as good a mc as drake. Drake using jewish jewlery doesn't mean anything. I never would have known he was Jewish,

    February 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  17. sonia

    the way cnn wrote this story sounds like they are trying to start a fued.everything matisyaha said is true except him not being as goos a mc as drake. Drake using jewish jewlery doesn't mean anything. I never would have known he was Jewish,

    February 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  18. Chase

    Matisyahu can spit circles around Drake. Drake needs to bow down and respect that he will never be the artist matisyahu is

    February 19, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  19. stinkbone

    this article was stupid both guys suck anyways, and Drake is a closet man lover, google his name and g a y pics, and see what you find!

    February 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Juan

      Drake is not gay. He is dating a female rapper named Nicki Minaj. So shut the f**ck up idiot

      February 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  20. mr-d

    I think people are having trouble with their reading here. Matisyahu did not say that Drake is not jewish. He said that Drake's music doesn't represent Judaism. He didn't even say that Drake wasn't true to his roots. He said that he [Matisyau] taps into his roots with his music. It's amazing how many angry posts people can make based on a silly headline and misquotes from the author of this "article".

    February 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • gmomj

      No one beatboxes like Matis. They are both excellent rappers and the controversy shouldn't overshadow their awesome talent.

      February 20, 2011 at 9:20 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.