Matisyahu: A Legend in the Making

Photo: christy jeziorski

Photo: christy jeziorski

Causing quite the controversy, on December 13, 2011, Matisyahu posted a beardless picture of himself on Twitter, explaining on his website:

“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.”

We here at Inity Weekly won’t judge one’s personal spiritual journey. We don’t usually cover artists to figure out the whys and the for whats unless it has to do with getting down with people who share a similar understanding of what we mean by the concept of “Inity.” So let’s not talk about the controversy of the beard-cutting. Rather let’s take a moment to explore the simple fact that Matisyahu is freakishly talented.

These days, you’ll notice the expansion of the “fusion” types, though Matisyahu has been in the game long before it became a fad. With a bit of messianic themes, a bit of rock, frequently adapted to a background sound of reggae/dub done right, and rap with beat boxing skills that would make Doug E. Fresh proud, Matisyahu puts on a (bleep)ing performance!

Ft. Collins roots reggae band, DubSkin, started the night off and served as prophets as they warmed up the crowd for the upcoming worship of the God of the night.  DubSkin went above the call of duty by energizing the crowd with their messages of unity and love as they covered songs from albums past, “Love In Spite Of…” and “No End In Time.” They placed the audience in a spell with more upbeat numbers from their forthcoming album, “Release From Fear” backed by bass and heavy dub sounds that hit right into the core.

Opening his show appropriately with “Open the Gate,” Matisyahu blessed the crowd with familiar songs such as “Sunshine,” “Lord Raise Me Up,” and his greatest hits “King Without a Crown” and “One Day.” Jewish or not (and we’re pretty sure that the majority of the sold out crowds on both nights at the Boulder Theater and Denver's Ogden Theater, were not Jewish), as Matis sang, “Jerusalem, if I forget you…”  the packed crowd echoed the last line, “…let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.” Added to this were his subtle moves, which happen to be much cooler and more natural than any choreographed groove Justin Bieber can generate. No offense, Biebs.

Photo: Gabriela Barbosa

Photo: Gabriela Barbosa

It can be said that Matisyahu provides a spiritual experience through his performances.  You not only attend a concert, but a prayer service - with a congregation of  Rastas, Chassidic Jews, a mix of both the young and wise and everything in-between - who embrace Matisyahu for his message and values.

It’s simple. The man is gifted and has chosen to utilize his gifts to spread a profound message, and to remind us that there is something out there that is bigger than ourselves. As his lyrics go in “One Day,” Matisyahu has proven that he “is here for a reason.” He is a legend in the making. Matisyahu is the truth.  - Christy J.

Click on the link to listen to "King Without A Crown"

For more info, visit the following websites:

Special thanks to Cory Eberhard and DubSkin!