Rick Ross’s Hustlin’ is a less conventional target for Jewish parody than other songs we’ve featured. Then again, “PistolGrip” is an unconventional name for a nice Jewish parody-maker from the suburbs of Atlanta. Thus we stray into the murky territory of Jewish hip-hop.
PistolGrip (a.k.a. Ben Joseph)’s latest album suburban Jewishfrat boimuzik is an extended shout-out to the AEPi lifestyle, partying, chasing girls and marijuana references abound. But the artist has soft spot for Chabad (he has remixed Shemspeed’s DeScribe), as well as manifestations of visibly “old school” Judaism. Tracks with explicit lyrics are a dime a dozen on SJFBM, but “O they Jewish” is an exception that represents a certain reverence for the Crown Heights lubavitch religious experience, while drawing the line at “we cool, religion, as long as I get to party after Friday night dinner.”
In an earlier album, a NSFW remix of “Hinei Ma Tov” weaves the weft of daily prayer into a taut warp of social fraternity and brotherhood, the latter providing the framework for PistolGrip’s pontificating. While Davenin’ may be a giggly hit in religious or ba’al teshuva circles, the cussing and casual drug references of SJFBM likely renders the album traif for the non-Hellenist Jewish establishment, unfit for viral distribution. If nothing else, the skill of assembling a low-shlock rhyme scheme is laudable.
While SJFBM isn’t intended for everyone, it is available for free download and distribution here (reminder: NSFW). Knowing nothing about the artist’s street (or cul-de-sac) credentials, PistolGrip represents a fundamental tension that today’s Jewish rappers face: breaking into a niche audience while keeping it real.