Phase in

Spirited rapper Godel Pierce speaks about growing up in Dimona and the release of his band’s first EP.

MODERN PHASE with rapper Godel Pierce (left) (photo credit: GAYA SA’ADON)
MODERN PHASE with rapper Godel Pierce (left)
(photo credit: GAYA SA’ADON)
Much like Modern Phase’s neo-soul music, which “hovers between harmony and chaos,” rapper Godel Pierce grew up in a world where his passion was both plagued by dissonance and aided by harmonies.
Pierce was born and raised in a Black Hebrew Israelite community in Dimona. However, his parents emigrated from Florida, where Pierce’s mother held onto negative perceptions of the hip hop genre.
“She thought that this kind of music ruins your brain cells. She didn’t let us listen to it because she didn’t want us to grow up in a ‘gangster’ place where we felt that we had to be protected by someone,” explains Pierce.
Nonetheless, despite a somewhat distant relationship with both his mother and father, the two sandwiching generations – his brother and his ancestors – played key roles in guiding the young rapper on his spirited musical path.
His older brother, Spontain, is a talented lyricist who was part of the first wave of Black Hebrew Israelite rappers to burst onto the scene, sparking a ripple effect throughout the community and Israel at large.
“When I was younger, I would hear the lyrics that [my brother] sang, the actions that he put toward them, and I fell in love.” When his brother and first-ever role model moved to Tel Aviv at 18, a 12-year-old Pierce began writing his own lyrics.
“He wasn’t around to continue, so I had to pick up on my own,” he recounts. “I was also exposed to my favorite rapper, Drake, and some others at the time.”
Another major role in his musical (and personal) upbringing will always be his ancestors, especially due to their direct association with the community in which he grew up. Pierce makes this clear in “MOF,” one of the feature songs in Modern Phase’s brand new EP, Border/ines; he repeats over and over that in this chaotic world, the only people you can truly count on are “the ancestors.”
He may have grown up in a predominantly black community, but Pierce is well aware of the minorities and cultural stereotypes that exist beyond the borders of Dimona.
“We have to talk about these things,” he posits. “‘MOF’ speaks about the system and how the system tries to bring black people down and deny us our simple rights to be human.”
As a result, Pierce makes sure to be conscious of every one of his actions, as they will reflect his community at the end of the day. As indicated in the self-titled single, Modern Phase, Pierce firmly believes in being “conscious in everything that I do” to not project a negative image on his family and “Kingdom” where he grew up.
This gets at the essence of “Border/ine,” the EP’s title song, “Life is about constant experiences that are pushing towards the borderline, where there is always a division between two distinct things – yourself and another battle that life has thrown your way.”
In “MOF” the distinction exists between having to be a certain way in order to fit inside society, and losing the ability to be yourself when all eyes are watching.
The EP is not just based on racism and prejudice, either. Skip forward to “WanchuNear” and you have a more romantic song where the division involves “yourself and the need to share what you have learned with another.” In this case, Pierce alludes to his connection with lead vocalist Daphna Ban, whom he loves from his “soul to the moon and back and all around the globe,” he grins ear-to-ear.
In examining these borderlines, which are clear-cut at some points and quite complex at others, while undercurrents of the Black Lives Matter movement pulse rhythmically through the new EP, much like their diversified musical agenda, Modern Phase touches on myriad themes revolving around equality.
For instance, Ban wrote a song about female equality because, as Pierce confirms, “that’s something that the world doesn’t pay enough attention to. They don’t understand that women have power and the same rights that we do. We might be able to do a few things that they cannot, but they can do loads of things that I cannot.”
Exposing the world to its faults can often lead to turmoil. Pierce, Ban, and the four members that round off Modern Phase’s instrumental makeup have created something magical, which does not close audiences off, but rather opens them up – a form of humbleness that breathes life into every one of Pierce’s lyrics, whether part of “Boder/ine” or part of a Friday morning interview with The Jerusalem Post. It is a humbleness that stems from his intrinsic sense of community, humanity and a fervent desire to connect with one another.
“I come from a place where you don’t have so much opportunity,” Pierce shares. “Now that I have come to Tel Aviv, a place where I do have opportunity, I want to reach every person there, and connect with everybody. Because everybody has a story. My lyrics can explain my story.” He pauses. “Or they can explain your story, if you don’t have the courage or outlet to let your voice be heard. If my music connects you with the lyrics or anything at all, then I am fulfilled. I have done my job. That’s what I love.”
Modern Phase performs their EP launch show at Tel Aviv’s HaEzor (The Zone) on August 2. You can find their latest music video on Youtube or their Facebook page (, and after the EP launch, it will also be available on Spotify and Apple Music.