Isaac The 2nd, Anglo-Israeli rapper, bares his soul

The 30-year-old writer and performer, who goes by the name of Isaac The 2nd, sets himself apart from the rap pack with a soft-spoken sound and deep lyrics.

ISAAC THE 2nd: ‘I started to see that I might have a place.’ (photo credit: DAVID MICHAEL SHACHAR)
ISAAC THE 2nd: ‘I started to see that I might have a place.’
For Gibraltarian-Israeli rapper and poet Isaac Marrache, rap is a form of expression that has been a constant throughout his young life.
The 30-year-old Jaffa-based writer and performer, who goes by the name of Isaac The 2nd, sets himself apart from the pack with a soft-spoken sound and deep lyrics that are based on self-reflection, emotion, confidence and insecurity, courage, faith and fear.
That’s in clear abundance on his new single called “AM Prayers,” which Marrache says “delivers the honest and authentic story of one man’s daily struggle with sadness and how he chooses to transform it.”
Born in Gibraltar where his family is well established in the Jewish community, Marrache moved with his loved ones to Israel in 1996 when he was six years old.
“I grew up religious. I still am, as a Conservative Jew, or let's call it a servant of Jah (Rastafari term for Lord our G-d),” Marrache told The Jerusalem Post last week. “I practice Judaism in the sense the way my forefathers practiced Judaism, and I make sure that it survives in my life.”
“I could have chosen a different stage name but the reason I use my name Isaac is because I believe a biblical name is strong enough, I don’t need a stage name, my lyrics are laced with biblical references, Torah references, songs, Nachman philosophy and Hassidic references – if you know you know.”
Raised in Ma’aleh Adumim amid a sizeable American presence, Marrache befriended a community that immersed him in English and hip hop culture.
“My love for rap specifically started within Jerusalem, growing up in Israel surrounded by lots and lots and lots of American kids… it made hip hop that much more present in my life – from kids coming back in the summer with albums, or the baggy jeans or any little types of pieces of the culture that might not have been ripe yet in Israel,” he said.
“When I was a kid I was listening to American hip hop – writing rhymes – even though I wasn’t pushing myself as an artist, it was already something that was happening for me. So it goes all the way back pretty much,” he added.
At age 16, amid rocky teen years, Marrache and his parents agreed that he should continue his schooling in Gilbratar.
It was a “different path of life,” he conceded, one that included working various jobs in kosher restaurants, offices, etc. while earning his GED high school equivalency diploma.
“It shifted my whole attitude from being a young 15-16 year old problem kid, to being a young man who suddenly had a focus on academia, knowledge,” with a sense of motivation, he said, that took him to Madrid and to London.
“In terms of moving away from Israel that was the full flip,” he said. “Having finished high school on my own, then graduating university in English in England, [that] was a total 360 so to speak,” Marrache said.
Isaac The 2nd (Hannah Castiel)Isaac The 2nd (Hannah Castiel)
After being away from Israel for almost a decade, Marrache moved back home in 2015. Once he arrived, he began writing down his emotions and everything he was going through at the time, which ties into the style of music he presents to his audience today. Eventually, these emotions were formulated into lyrics, which Isaac The 2nd then began sharing with those around him.
“That started to stack up very fast into dozens and dozens of long notes in rhymes, and that became me showing rhymes to people,” he said. He added from there that situations arose where “people had commented on my voice tone and lyrical content being interesting… and I started to see that I might have a place. I might have a place as a lyricist and as a vocalist, whereas all these years I felt like I had nothing to do with my music.”
After five years of developing his craft, opening at festivals, concerts and venues across Israel, Marrache joined an accelerator program for independent musicians titled the Synthesizer program, which helps produce, brand and steer up-and-coming artists towards successful careers in the music industry.
The fruition of the three-month program has been the release of “AM Prayers," which included a studio recording and filming of the single and featured on the 2020 Synthesizer Sessions.
His second single, “The King of Insecurity,” which represents a conversation between a man and his future self, is scheduled to drop before the end of the year. Looking ahead, a full-length album – Nursery Rhymes – is on the docket for 2021.
It seems like Marrache, as Isaac The 2nd, has found something to do with his music.