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Lealef Et Hasoreret (Tame the Rebellious)
Hila Nisimov, aka Shorty, is angry. And on her solo debut she raps over 15 tracks (13 regular, plus two bonus) about all the things that irk her. Her rapping is good. Her rhyming is skillful.
Yet half the album is annoying. Employing the traditional use of rhyming slang to put down one's enemies, Shorty takes the practice too far and begins to sound like a nag. On "Taasiya Mefukpeket" (Unreliable Industry) we are told that the domestic music scene sucks and that there are too many fakers of pop star Roni's calibre (Shorty has it in for Roni). The title track hammers home the idea that no one is as skilled as Shorty. And on "Haemet Sheli" she trashes the Israeli culture of which she is now a part. That said, there are a few really good tracks presented here - especially "Somewhere over the Rainbow" (with Kashi), "Yofi Bah", and "Malkat Halevavot".
These songs are more personal. She raps about the importance of "coming out" to women who are gay; and tells heterosexual women that it's okay not to have sex right away.
In addition to being a woman in a mainly male market, Shorty attracts attention because she is openly gay. The song, "Teheyeh Li Lefantazia", sounds like an excerpt from her personal diary as she describes how she feels when falling in love. Musically, the CD includes a mix of hip hop styles as well as a dose of typical Israeli beats. Shorty gets thumbs up for being more than a singer - she wrote and composed the full album, thus proving her artistic credibility.
Another rapper to recently release an album is SHI 360 (Shai Hadad). The multi-talented Israeli-Canadian rapper was born in Israel, grew up in Montreal's underground music scene, and returned to set hip hop straight in the Holy Land.
This is his first album in Hebrew; his debut CD, Chapters, was released in 2001. Chai is comprised of 18 tracks and each one boasts the 29-year-old's legendary verbal skills. A number of songs on the album promote SHI's self assumed superiority ("SHI Heegeya", "Pnai Plus" and "Kabel!!!"). Whereas Shorty (above) comes off as overly conceited, SHI employs his oral cleverness and comes out sounding sharp-witted. And while his songs focus on his rise to the top of the charts, SHI 360 is better known for spewing socially-conscious verse. The track, "Shvor et Hadmama", eloquently broaches the subject of child abuse and berates the society that allows it to persist. "Rak Ben Adam" follows course with a song about domestic violence and tribulations of the lower class. His lyrics are profound and nearly every track reads like poetry. Then again, this is a guy who has a BA in business under his belt, once donned a suit-and-tie to work, and is fluent in three languages.
SHI, which stands for Supreme Hebrew Intellect, sings in English, French and Hebrew (and a splash of Spanish). The "360" in his name is a moniker he gave himself after returning to Israel to "his roots and to start his life from scratch again". SHI has noted in the past that his influences are Nas, Gangstarr and Jay Z and this is evident in his music style. Newcomers to this field should study this guy's work.