Watch out now

NY hip hop group "The Beatnuts" hits TA.

The Beatnuts 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Beatnuts 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some sorely-needed mid-90s hip hop will grace South Tel Aviv when legendary New York group The Beatnuts, play Comfort 13 in Florentine, May 20.
The visit is the first stop on a European tour for the duo, JuJu and Psycho Les. Road manager Nestor Jimenez said last week that he sees the visit as a unique opportunity to bring the group’s sound to the region.
“The Beatnuts are looking forward to performing for the Israeli crowd, bringing our music into the Middle East is a unique opportunity,” Jimenez said. “We are hyped that Israel is included on our European tour, we are also excited to visit Israel and especially the holy city of Jerusalem.”
The Queens, NY-based duo have released 14 albums and are most well-known for their hits “Watch out Now,” “No Escapin’ This” and “Off the Books.” Veterans of New York’s scene, the group came up with the Native Tongues family (which included De La Soul, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Jungle Brothers) during the golden age of ’90s hip hop and have collaborated with the likes of Method Man, Fat Joe, Common, Mos Def and Naughty by Nature, to name only a few.
The duo’s Latino roots come through in their beat-heavy hip hop, which anybody who went to high school or college in the states knew as the background to many a house party or night out drinking.
Concert promoter Lukas Brenowitz told The Jerusalem Post that he sees the concert as part of his efforts to introduce more and more people to a different side of Israel, a sort of “hip-hop diplomacy,” if you will.
“I’m all about promoting Israel with a human face and so part of why I promote these shows is because of these motives – but also to bring more urban music to Israel”, the New York native said.
Brenowitz said bringing hip hop artists to Israel is more challenging than lining up shows by techno DJs, who find a fertile stomping ground and a crowd already well familiar with their work.
“The electronic scene definitely has its DJs who come every week, but hip hop doesn’t have this lineup of live acts here and we’re trying to increase that here. The problem is finding investors and somebody willing to bring somebody here who isn’t very well-known in Israel.”
Still, even though Israel isn’t the first stop on most hip hop tours, Brenowitz has faith that that could change soon.
“Israel is about 20 years behind on a lot of things, so maybe now they’ll get the golden age of hip hop.”