Kosha Hip Hop Goes Mainstream
Kosha Dillz appears on stage wearing a kippah, a PUNK JEWS t-shirt, and a star of David displayed prominently around his neck. He introduces himself as “the best Jewish rapper in Korea Town.” Earlier this month Kosha packed all his belongings, left New Jersey, drove as far west as he could, and made Los Angeles his home. L.A. after all, is the entertainment capital of the world, and what better place to continue one’s steady rise to hip hop stardom.
Kosha grew up in New Jersey, studied at Rutgers, struggled with addiction and spent time in jail. Unlike typical American mainstream rappers, he was born in Israel- as Rami Matan Even-Esh. Much of his family was lost in the Holocaust. His art is inspired both by his love for Judaism and his family. He entertains with a mix of self-deprecating, Borscht Belt humor and an authentic fusion of hip hop with Jewish influences. ”For Jewish rappers, secularism has been the rule,” according to a review of Kosha Dillz in the Los Angeles Times. Kosha defies that mold. Kosha’s Jewishness is as overt as can be, adding to his uniqueness as an up-and-coming hip hop artist.
Kosha’s first performance as a brand new California resident was at
Orange County’s Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa- about the last place you’d expect to hear a hip hop performer rapping in Hebrew. But even in The OC during University of California Irvine’s now infamous Muslim Student Union anti-Israel “hate week,” performing one city over from the home of the anti-Semitic Institute for Historical Review, and bastion of the John Birch society, Kosha’s performance was very warmly received.
Kosha’s engaging personality and performance style even had the late-night O.C. audience singing along during a song in Hebrew about his family, aptly named “HaMishpacha Sheli.” He has an endearing personality which draws his audience in, regardless of religious or political affiliation. Kosha’s unabashed Jewishness and love of Israel effectively raises awareness for Jewish issues in a completely unobtrusive way. He makes being Jewish cool and likable, which of course it is, but not everyone knows that. For young Jews he’s an admirable role model spreading a positive Jewish message.
Case in point is Kosha’s Yom Ha Shoah Freestyle, which is a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and was posted on the Kosha Dillz homepage on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Kosha asks his website viewers to “Please take a moment today to reflect….and share [this video] with your friends and family. We can educate those who are unaware of such atrocities, and prevent history from repeating itself.”
Kosha’s freestyle talent is impressive. Equally impressive is his ability to relate to his listeners from onstage. He’s released a solo album, Beverly Dillz, and has toured with Matisyahu, Cage the Elephant and underground freestyle legend C-Rayz Walz (with whom he released 2008′s “Freestyle Vs. Written”). Kosha’s exceptional talent has not gone unnoticed.
To read more about Kosha and sample his music, visit http://www.koshadillzworld.com/site-press/.