Dimitri Ehrlich

Behind the Scenes and on the Mic

Jews have a long history in hip hop and much to be proud of — both behind the scenes and on the microphone. The presence is especially significant on the business side of things: For many years, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest and Slick Rick were all managed by Lyor Cohen, who went on to run a major rap label, and Eminem is managed by

An Indie Label Strikes Gold

Two years ago, Michael Caplan couldn’t wait to be fired. He was working as an executive vice president at Sony Music, where he discovered acts like Living Colour, G. Love and Ginuwine. But he had long been dismayed by the lack of love for actual music in the record business, a problem he watched grow worse as major labels

The Beastie Boys Grow Up

The question posed by “To the 5 Boroughs” (Capitol), the sixth album by the Beastie Boys, is: Can irreverence and social-consciousness coexist? As the three rappers push 40 — Adam Yauch, aka MCA, is 39; Mike Diamond, aka Mike D, is 38, and Adam Horovitz, aka Adrock, is 37 — it was perhaps inevitable that they would shed some of the

A Zionist Hip-Hop Stance Comes to Lollapalooza

When “Reagan Baby,” the debut album by Ross Golan and Molehead, arrived in the mail, I almost tossed it in my “interesting-looking indie releases” pile, the batch of CDs that, if there were infinite time, I might one day get around to listening to — but there is not, and so I probably wouldn’t.But then something caught my

Adon Olam, Truly

One of the strange quirks of life in rural East Africa today is that while many communities lack electricity and running water, there are people with personal Web sites, e-mail and cellphones. And so it is that Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, an ethnomusicologist at Tufts University and the executive director of the university’s Hillel foundation, has

The Best Album You’ve Never Read

Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp met in 1995 while working at the Hohner musical instrument warehouse and repair center in northern Virginia. There, as Hearst tuned harmonicas eight hours a day while Camp worked as an accordion technician, the two developed a friendship based on a shared interest in oddball instruments. The Hohner factory in Germany

‘Jewish Shakira’ Gives Her Songs a Sexy Spin

Sarah Aroeste is a woman on a mission. The 27-year-old singer, who mixes rock and pop influences with the Ladino music of her ancestors, isn’t just out to entertain. She wants to redefine the term “Jewish music.”“When people think of Jewish music, I don’t think they think of sexy, necessarily,” said Aroeste, who has been described as