Matisyahu Aligns With Epic, Guests With P.O.D.
Hasidic reggae rapper Matisyahu will release his next album this fall via a partnership between Epic and Or Music, which last month released the album "Live at Stubb's."Hasidic reggae rapper Matisyahu will release his next album this fall via a partnership between Epic and Or Music, which last month released the album "Live at Stubb's." Having recently demoed two songs with noted producer Bill Laswell, Matisyahu and his band plan to hit the studio in the next two weeks to begin work on the follow-up to that set, which reached No. 2 on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart.
"We have material ready, but a lot of the way we write material is to just come together in a room and someone will have an idea that forms into a song," the artist tells Billboard.com. "It happens pretty quickly." As for why Laswell was chosen to produce, Matisyahu says, "We thought Bill would get the dub thing and the reggae thing."
While he's out West in the coming days to perform at the Sasquatch! Festival outside Seattle, Matisyahu will also record a track intended to appear on rap/rock outfit P.O.D.'s next album, due later this year via Atlantic.
The artist, who currently lives in the heavily Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood Crown Heights, has steadily outgrown the capacity of the clubs artists usually play on their way up the New York music scene's food chain. "Seeing my name on the lights above B.B. King's [nightclub in New York] was great," he says. "The whole thing is like a whirlwind. Every time, it's a bigger group of people. It's a real beautiful vibe."
In keeping with Hasidic customs, Matisyahu does not play shows on the Sabbath. "From Friday night until sundown Saturday, I don't do shows," he says. "So you miss Friday nights. Saturday night at 8 p.m., it's usually dark already, so we play Saturday night shows."
Asked if he's received opposition to his chosen career from other Hasidic Jews in his community, Matisyahu says, "Not so much. The message of the Lubavitch movement is to go out and take your talents and use music and radio and TV and try and make a good impact on the world, and not to retreat."