Vox Tablet

My Hip-Hop Nation

If a society’s vitality is evidenced by the pulse of its dance music, then there’s hope for Israel

November 12, 2012
(Nechi Nech/Facebook)

(Nechi Nech/Facebook)

Some people say the way to measure the health of a society is by the status of its women. Others look to the GDP, or to voter turnout. For Tablet’s Liel Liebovitz, it’s a question of beats, rhymes, and samples. When he was 13, Leibovitz had something of a crisis of faith in his home, as well as his homeland, after his father landed in jail with a 20-year sentence. He could no longer stomach the saccharine tunes that made up the mainstream of 1980s Israeli music. That was when he discovered American hip-hop.

It would take a few years before Israel got a hip-hop scene of its own, and its output, quality, and popularity have waxed and waned in the intervening decades. (We have an essay on some of the best new talent here.) Leibovitz, now living and raising a family in New York, finds that his feelings toward his homeland have followed a parallel course. [Running time: 8:41.]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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