Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(ARTS) UK Rapper "Antithesis" Raps How He Is "Proud To Be A Zionist"

Antithesis was born in South London. Music was in the family, his father had been a songwriter in his youth and his mother a keen dancer. At a young age, he took an interest in the new music phenomenon that was penetrating the pop charts – rap.

By the time he was 15 Antithesis had started writing short raps of his own. His friend gave him the name Antithesis as he is the opposite of a stereotypical rapper.

At 18 he decided to enter a song contest; the song performed had to be original lyrics and music, and had to be on a theme related to Judaism or Israel. Antithesis spent many hours with his producer ‘Tha Baron’ and came up with ‘Just Peace‘. Positive feedback from the judges and audience at what was his first live performance gave him the motivation to continue.

After school Antithesis took a gap year in Israel, taking part in the Machon L’Madrichei Chul programme. Just before going, he had heard Chaim Avraham, father of one of Israel’s Missing in Action soldiers, speak in London, and had been very moved. In Israel he heard him speak again and resolved to write a song about the soldiers’ situation in an attempt to raise the profile of the cause. The excuse to write it came when there was a talent show at the Machon and Antithesis wrote and performed ‘Ima Mechaka Babayit‘.

When Mr Avraham heard about the song, he instructed Antithesis to record it so it could be released and sold for charity, and as a result Antithesis paid his first visit to the studio. The song was a hit and saw radio play in Israel and England, in addition to exposure in the British and Israeli press. It was distributed independently on a small scale in England and sold very well.

Back in England, Antithesis took up his place to read Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge. He continued writing, and in his first term wrote ‘Take a Minute‘, amongst other tracks. He tried to get funding to go back to the studio but found it difficult to secure support due to the unusual nature of the project. As a result in June of 2003 he decided to take things into his own hands, using all his personal savings to record the ‘The Israel Question’ EP, which went on sale at the end of the year with all profits going to charity.

Antithesis continued to write while at university but time for music was limited because of the demands of his course and other commitments; he was president of the Jewish Society and later the Israel Society, was heavily involved in the Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY) and founded the UK’s first Israeli music radio programme, Kol Cambridge, which was nominated for a BBC Student Radio Award. Of all the songs written during his time at university only ‘Ivrit, Daber Ivrit‘ was recorded (in late 2004). However during this time Antithesis gigged all over the UK, as well as in Israel, Argentina and the US, and was featured on the radio in Germany, Canada and France in addition to the aforementioned countries.

On graduating top of his year at Cambridge, Antithesis assumed the position of Mazkir (Executive Director) of the Federation of Zionist Youth, a full-time elected position. Just before starting the role the Second Lebanon War began and in response he recorded ‘Ima Mechaka BaBayit Part II‘ and ‘Yes to Peace, No to Terror‘. However it was not until finishing his term as Mazkir that Antithesis managed to return to the studio to complete his second EP, ‘United Kingdom of Racism’, which was released at the end of 2007.

After living for two and a half years in Geneva, Switzerland, Antithesis made aliyah in mid-2010 and currently lives in Tel Aviv. To date he has sold several thousand copies of his CDs and raised several thousand pounds for charity and continues to perform all over the world. He continues to write new material and new releases will soon be forthcoming!

Below is his hit single "Proud To Be A Zionist"

Check out the interview he had in Israel after the lyrics below.


Yo, it’s time to set the record straight
Fed up with all the man proclaimin all this hate
No room for debate, well hold up wait
Cos Antithesis comin to step up and state
Yo the movement of my people been getting this stick
Equated with racism and other bullish
And if you can’t see it – that’s just foolish
So shut up and listen, to my hip hop schooling
We talking freedom, emancipation
A home, a land for a persecuted nation
Liberation, democratisation
A dream fulfilled, a Jewish safe haven
2000 years this desire had lied
Dormant but restive – it never died
In the 1800s, it was brought to life with this
Movement of my people, proud to be Zionists


I’m a Zionist – and yes I’m proud
I’m a Zionist – so shout it loud
I’m a Zionist – that’s my vocation
I’m a Zionist – self-determination for the Jewish nation
I’m a Zionist – and I’ll never cease
I’m a Zionist – who just wants peace
I’m a Zionist – and I say it with poise
I’m a Zionist – if you are too, then make some noise!

Antithesis gotta give my props, respect
To the man who got this all going and rocked the set
To be honest though, there’s no way this verse’ll
Come close to doing justice to Theodore Herzl
Ben-Yehuda, course rocked the language tip
And I already showed him love on Ivrit Daber Ivrit
Ahad Ha’am represented for the people
A cultural centre was his ideal
A man of steel was my boy Jabotinsky
I wish I had time to stand and list the
Endless achievements of AD Gordon
Love the land was his plan, and it was awesome
The Lord was put forward by the man Rav Kook
His intellect and stature never done shook
That’s the look, so take pride in it
Pay respect with me, cos I’m proud to be a Zionist


I’m a Zionist, so give me my word back
There’s too many man, trying to turn that
Into something negative, something bad
I’m a Zionist who ain’t ashamed, I’m glad
That I support universal suffrage, free press
Only place in the Middle East to pass that test
Nothing less, cos we strivin for perfection
It’s a work in progress, like all other Western
Nations, but to be Zionist don’t equal extreme
Don’t make you obscene, unkind or unclean
What it means, is that you believe that the Jewish state
Has a right to exist, secure and safe
People livin without fear, living in peace
That’s the essence of a Zionist belief
No more beef, I’m done defining it
Join with me and shout that we proud to be Zionists


Here is an interview he had in Israel.

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