Mark my words, 2006 is going to be the “Year of the Jew”. The groundwork has been laid down all through 2005 with the birth of a hip and funny Jewish magazine (Heeb), a Jewish Record Label (Jewish Music Group), a photo book about Bar Mtizvahs in the 80s (“Bar Mitzvah Disco”), and now, apparently, the first ever Jewish Hip Hop Supergroup. That, at least, is what it says in the press release I received just in time for the Holiday season, announcing the release of the new Chutzpah CD “(eponymous)” and the accompanying DVD “Chutzpah, This Is?.” The first single off the CD is, appropriately, “Chanukah’s Da Bomb.” It has been made into a very engaging video, which celebrates Chanukah with an infectiously fun, edgy attitude.
The CD is filled with clever lyrics, great beats and some very solid rapping. If I’m to believe the press release I received, the members of the band are Dr. Dreck, the ‘oldest rhyming Jew’, Master Tav, the cantorial student turned rapper; MC Meshugenah, ‘the craziest Jew’ and their friend Jewdah the Jewish/Rastafarian, philosopher/rapper!. Tracks include “Yiddish”, “Superjew,” “Shiksa Goddess,” and “Curse of the Blessing” to name just a few.
The DVD is a 30-minute short film about the making of the CD and video, that is as perplexing as it is entertaining. Dr. Dreck, is either George Segal, or George Segal is actually Dr. Dreck. Don’t ask me to explain. The members of Chutzpah are each colorful in their own right. Periodic cameos from celebrities like Gary Oldman, Debi Mazar, Def Leppard’s Viv Campbell,, and of all people Sharon Osbourne combine to create a surreal feeling like I’m on the outside of an inside joke I should already know about.
So now, by reporting on this delightful pair of Holiday offerings, I become the one who’s on the inside of the joke - but I’m still not sure what’s real and what’s fiction. Just when I assume the whole thing is a cleverly choreographed farce, now I hear that the group performs live and are coming to a town near me!
If you want to be ready for 2006, get a glimpse of Chutzpah, the poster-boys of the “Year of the Jew” at the Meridian in Houston, December 22, 2005.
-Vivian Campbell (guitar player/Def Leppard) Los Angeles, 2005
"I got this CD from a friend of mine who's involved in Chutzpah that I've known since back in the day, and I'm not really sure what to make of it. I think it's supposed to be funny, but I'm not Jewish so a lot of the jokes just -y'know - eluded me. It sounds like a great CD. The songs are really well done and I've never heard anything quite like it before…and I have a feeling that I may never hear anything quite like it again…but when I asked him who the market was for this was he just started rambling on about scholarly pursuits of languages and something about George Segal…so I'm still pretty unclear where it's all heading, but I wish them the best…what's that thing they say? May the Schwartz be with you!"
-Debbie Harry, NYC, 2005
"I first met Master Tav about 12 years ago so I've been listening to the sounds, the rhymes for about 12 years. I like rap, all kinds of music, the Beatles to Mozart to 50 Cent to Eminem to these guys. Go see these guys. They're amazing. They're brilliant. He's (Tav) a genius. A lot of people don't know this, but my real name is Harry Goldman. When I went into showbiz, it was easy. All I did was move the 'G' and dropped the 'R' ...Gary Oldman. There you go. Famous Jew and there's been a few of them. Yo check these guys out. They're the bomb. They're Down. Chutzpah. Check 'em out! Okay, so this from me to you and up yours as well."
-Gary Oldman (actor), Los Angeles, 2005
"I love the record. The thing about Chutzpah is I really don't think there's anything quite like it. In terms of music, I don't think anybody's really done what you're doing. For a change, Chutzpah's incorporating not just hip hop, but some new sounds and it's cultural and it kind of steers youth and gives them another way to look at things."
-Debi Mazar (actress), Los Angeles, 2005
"The buzz is there. Rock has had it's day. It's all about Chutzpah! Your mother would love it."