Sabra Sounds

Hip hop and R & B outfit Hashevet turned heads with the music video for "Neve Midbar" ("Desert Oasis") when it first aired on Channel 24, Israel's music network.

shevet disk 88 298 (photo credit: )
shevet disk 88 298
(photo credit: )
HASHEVET Self-titled Hatav Hashmini Hip hop and R & B outfit Hashevet turned heads with the music video for "Neve Midbar" ("Desert Oasis") when it first aired on Channel 24, Israel's music network. While American music videos - especially hip hop videos - often contain sexual content, Hashevet's clip came as a shock to local TV audiences. The group, whose name means "The Tribe," has been subject to protests since then, but as its members sing on "Matayim Halomot" ("200 Dreams"), they "came to win" and plan to "go all the way" despite what critics say. Influenced by American groups like A Tribe Called Quest and Wu Tang Clan, band leader Adam Tal founded the group eight years ago. There are nearly 10 active members of Hashevet, including four singers: Tal, Itay "Tuna Man" Zvulun, Maytal "Me2qa" Rahmian and Ori "Oz" Garbash. The guys rap at fascinating speeds while Rahmian offers soft harmonies and caressing vocals. The group describes its sound as "Middle Eastern urban," and its lyrics are full of references to contemporary pop culture. Hashevet's songs overflow with local slang, referencing everything from SMS messages and author Etgar Keret to the IDF and night life in Tel Aviv. The band's songs, mostly humorous in tone, are matched by light, enjoyable beats. And in contrast to many hip hop groups, which borrow beats from one another relentlessly, Hashevet's album contains only original music. It doesn't sound like anything else out there, a notable feature given Hashevet members' work with major local hip hop players including Subliminal, Hadag Nahash, Keleh 6, Momy Levi and Quami de la Fox. While singles "Jean Claude," "Discotheque" and "Neve Midbar" haven't yet reached ring tone status on Israeli cell phones, Hashevet's MTV-inspired songs are worth a listen. IDAN YANIV Choshev Aleha Base/Play Records Idan Yaniv may be just 19-years-old, but he's the guy behind one of the summer's biggest singles, "Choshev Aleha" ("Thinking of Her"). The song is the third off his album of the same name, following "Galgal Anak" ("The Huge Cycle"), which became a soccer anthem, and "Mevakesh Rak Lismoach" ("Asking Only to Be Happy"), which was all but forgotten after its release. While "Choshev Aleha" is fairly saccharine, it nevertheless created a storm on the airwaves. The lyrics to Yaniv's other romantic songs, however, are sweet to the point of absolute excess. Yaniv showcases a Mizrahi sound on much of his CD, adding electronic beats to remixes of "Galgal Anak" and "Choshev Aleha." His voice is velvety at times, but also frequently nasal. Raised in Tel Aviv, Yaniv participated in music festivals throughout his childhood and is fond of revisiting his victory at age 14 in a Zohar Argov song contest. But while Yaniv has made no secret of his desire to fill the Caesarea Amphitheater one day, this soldier/student should enjoy his place on the music charts while it lasts. The day will come when radio stations tire of "Choshev Aleha," and pop fans change their ring tones. There's not much else on this album to take the song's place.