15 Songs, 1 Hour 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a Hasidic Jewish reggae musician, Matisyahu cut an unlikely figure when he burst on the global music scene in 2005. Now the rapper/singer’s beliefs have shifted to the point where he’s shaved his beard and shed the black suits. Saying that this album is his most personal statement to date, Matisyahu backs that up in songs like the anthemic “Champion,” “Hard Way,” and “Star on the Rise,” where lyrics detail his feelings of isolation and creative rebirth. He's backed by Brooklyn’s Dub Trio (which is also his touring band), and the sounds of Jamaica can still be heard on songs like the rootsy “Black Heart” and “Confidence.” But there’s also the alternative rock of the opening track (“Reservoir”) and the love songs “Ayeka (Teach Me to Love)” and “Built to Survive (Featuring Zion I),” the latter of which sounds more like Coldplay than Jimmy Cliff. Matisyahu's skills as a top-flight rapper have never sounded better than on “Star on the Rise” and “Vow of Silence (Shalom).” He's not holding anything back; Akeda is a compelling listening as Matisyahu finds his way.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a Hasidic Jewish reggae musician, Matisyahu cut an unlikely figure when he burst on the global music scene in 2005. Now the rapper/singer’s beliefs have shifted to the point where he’s shaved his beard and shed the black suits. Saying that this album is his most personal statement to date, Matisyahu backs that up in songs like the anthemic “Champion,” “Hard Way,” and “Star on the Rise,” where lyrics detail his feelings of isolation and creative rebirth. He's backed by Brooklyn’s Dub Trio (which is also his touring band), and the sounds of Jamaica can still be heard on songs like the rootsy “Black Heart” and “Confidence.” But there’s also the alternative rock of the opening track (“Reservoir”) and the love songs “Ayeka (Teach Me to Love)” and “Built to Survive (Featuring Zion I),” the latter of which sounds more like Coldplay than Jimmy Cliff. Matisyahu's skills as a top-flight rapper have never sounded better than on “Star on the Rise” and “Vow of Silence (Shalom).” He's not holding anything back; Akeda is a compelling listening as Matisyahu finds his way.

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