After shaving off his signature facial hair and declaring "No more Chassidic reggae superstar" last December, Matisyahu has set a July 17 release date for his fourth studio album, "Spark Seeker." He has also revealed the first leg of an extensive North American co-headlining tour with the Dirty Heads that kicks off on July 8.
The socially conscious rapper (real name: Matthew Paul Miller) recorded the forthcoming full-length in Los Angeles, New York and Israel, and tapped Kool Kojak to produce the entire album, according to a press release. The first single, "Sunshine," was unveiled on Matisyahu's official web site on Tuesday (May 8). Listen:
"This is definitely pushing the boundaries of what I've done before... It's a new kind of record for me," Matisyahu says in a statement. While "Spark Seeker" only includes a handful of guest vocalists, Shyne -- the former Bad Boy Records rapper who spent nine years in prison before heading to Israel and becoming an Orthodox Jew -- appears on two album tracks, "Buffalo Soldier" and "King Crown of Judah."
Late last year, Matisyahu shocked fans by shaving off his long, religiously significant beard, posting a clean-shaven photo of himself on Twitter and issuing a blog post explaining the difficult balance between organized Judaism and his individuality. "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," he wrote.
Matisyahu is still best known for his 2006 live album "Live at Stubb's," which included the hit single "King Without a Crown" that peaked at No. 28 on the Hot 100. His third album, "Light," was released in 2009.
Here are Matisyahu's upcoming tour dates (** with the Dirty Heads):
June 1: Kansas City, MO - Dancefestopia
June 3: Ozark, AK - Wakarusa 2012
June 16: Thackerville, OK - Winstar World Casino
July 3: Del Mar, CA - Del Mar Fairgrounds
July 8: Vienna, VA - The Wolftrap **
July 9: Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live **
July 10: Boston, MA - House of Blues **
July 11: Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom **
July 12: Stamford, CT - Alive at Five
July 14: Philadelphia, PA - XFINITY Live!
July 15: Costa Mesa, CA - OC Fair and Event Center
July 18: Providence, RI - Lupo's Hearbreak Hotel **
July 19: Albany, NY - Northern Lights **
July 21: Atlantic City, NJ - Showboat Atlantic City House of Blues **
July 22: Asbury Park, NJ - Stone Pony Summerstage **
July 23: Huntington, NY - The Paramount Theatre **
July 25: Portland, ME - State Theatre **
July 26: Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom **
July 28: Floyd, VA - Floydfest
July 29: Randall's Island, NY - Catalpa Festival
July 30: Pittsburgh, PA - Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead **
Aug. 4: Grand Rapids, MI - The Orbit Room **
Aug. 7: Chicago, IL - The Congress Theatre **
Aug. 8: Milwaukee, WI - The Rave **
Aug. 9: Minneapolis, MN - First Ave **
Aug. 12: Des Moines, IA - Simon Estes Amphitheatre **
Aug. 14: Houston, TX - Cynthia Woods Pavilion *Supporting Sublime
Aug. 15: Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion *Supporting Sublime
Aug. 16: St. Louis, MO - Verizon Wireless *Supporting Sublime
Aug. 18: Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore **
Aug. 19: Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre Outdoors
Aug. 21: Chesterfield, VA - Pocahontas State Park Amphitheatre **
Aug. 22: Chattanooga, TN - Track 29 **
Aug. 25: Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues **
Aug. 27: Mobile, AL - Soul Kitchen **