Solomon & Socalled,
(Piranha, 2003)

It's a strange love affair, proper old-fashioned klezmer fiddler Solomon and wild beat thrower Socalled. Getting the families together for the wedding must have been a job -- you know how guitarist uncles and rapper brothers fight. It's obvious this relationship won't last. There's entirely too much energy put into the ceremony, too much passion for the patient journey of marriage. Listen, the bride is already having second thoughts. But the marriage of tradition and modern beats in HipHopKhasene is a great party, and we should take the time to enjoy it.

HipHopKhasene is a wedding as much as an album, and it's hard to analyze any one piece of the process. There's a bit of wild gossip in the "Introduction," and of course that awful scene of "Alt. Shul Kale Bazetsn" when Solomon got smashed and went on a rant during Slim Litvak's lovely hip-hop Yiddish blessing. But you can hear the love; it strains through "Freylekhs Far De Kale," a traditional piece rearranged with zest and discord, and the energetic gift of "7 Blessings."

With the ceremony over, it's time to turn off the brain and dance. "Dobriden Yardstyle for the Mekhutonim" and "The First Time: Pleasure of 'S': smadj remix" cover old conversations from the album and spin them out over tireless minutes of dance beats. With the conversation so repetitive, it's safe to tune out and hit the dance floor, at least until "Headphones: Glass Smash remix" ushers the happy couple out the door in a flurry of mad drumming and upbeat chants. Maybe the union won't last long, but this HipHopKhasene shouldn't be missed.

- Rambles
written by Sarah Meador
published 3 April 2004

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