Of all the artist-development stories to emerge in 2005, Matisyahu's was perhaps the most unique.

Of all the artist-development stories to emerge in 2005, Matisyahu's was perhaps the most unique. Not only was his breakout album, "Live at Stubb's," hastily recorded for $8,000, its first single, "King Without a Crown," is a modern rock smash -- a nearly unheard-of feat for a reggae track. And then there is Matisyahu himself: a Hasidic Jew whose reggae- and rock-tinged sound celebrates his faith.

Yet while the 26-year-old artist is devoutly religious, he is not letting that stand in the way of getting his music heard. "Who doesn't want success?" he asks. "There's some artists that say they don't, and they're not looking for it, but I'm not one of those artists."

This week, his new studio album, "Youth," comes out on JDub/Or/Epic. The set was produced by Bill Laswell, Jimmy Douglass and Ill Factor. Considering that at the end of 2004 Matisyahu was doing a regional Hanukkah tour, he has enjoyed the past year.

"I didn't know what to expect," he says of his success. "I've always been a lover of music, and I've always wanted to be able to perform and make music. When it's just an idea or a dream, you're not aware of the details of the process, what goes into it."

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