Kosha Dillz opening for Ghostface Killah at the Roxy, reveals his 'LA Ish'
Hip-hop is no stranger to those of the Hebrew persuasion. In the course of the last quarter-century, many notable MCs have been able to claim membership in the tribe, ranging from the Beastie Boys, to party-rappers Mickey Avalon and Dirt Nasty, to the Alchemist, MC Paul Barman, MC Serch and Edan. Even Drake -- arguably the most popular artist of Generation Y -- received a bar mitzvah.
Yet while rappers of the Christian and Islamic faiths have often proudly touted their religious beliefs (see Kanye West's "Jesus Walks," the Wu-Tang Clan's adherence to 5 percenter beliefs, anything by Poor Righteous Teachers), for Jewish rappers secularism has been the rule. Perhaps the most prominent exception was the Wu-Tang Clan-affiliated Remedy, whose poignant Holocaust chronicle "Never Again" remains the only popular rap song to tackle the topic.
Following down this rarely trodden road is Kosha Dillz, an Israeli-born, New Jersey-raised MC who has toured with a range of artists including Matisyahu, Cage the Elephant and underground freestyle legend C-Rayz Walz (with whom he released 2008's "Freestyle Vs. Written").
Though Dillz (born: Rami Matan Even-Esh) handled the written half of the record, his freestyle ability has gotten him far. According to the former Rutgers University wrestler, the majority of the opportunities he's received in his career have stemmed from hopping onstage and wowing the crowds with his extemporaneous attack. In fact, one such effort elicited the attention of the RZA, with whom he's since recorded. The Wu-Tang connection also helped him score a pair of dates opening for Ghostface Killah on Friday at the Roxy and Saturday night in San Diego.
The relentless grind has paid off, with Dillz taking a DIY approach to his career, booking his own shows, promoting himself at every turn, and winning fans with his endearing on-stage presence. Though he's a technically skilled rhymer, Dillz's greatest gift is his willingess to engage the crowd. He'll do goofball Russian dance kicks, crack jokes and single out individual audience members. It's a style of rap capable of winning over both the Borscht Belt and backpackers.
No stranger to Los Angeles, Dillz is currently recording his sophomore solo record here. It's a follow-up to "Beverly Dillz," recorded in Beverly Hills with local producer Belief, a record imbued with Esh's thoughts on the weird vagaries within the city of $1,000 sunglasses. In advance of Friday's performance, Pop & Hiss is premiering "LA Ish," Dillz's take on the "Entourage" lifestyle, Fred Segal, and people with brand new cars who sleep on the couch. In Hollywood parlance, they're called "aspiring actors."
-- Jeff Weiss
MP3: Kosha Dillz-"LA Ish"
Photo: Kosha Dillz. Credit: Brandon Dorsky