When Matthew Paul Miller was born in 1979, it was unheard of to see a Hasidic Jewish American’s face plastered on MTV. However, under the stage name Matisyahu, he broke every stereotype of his Jewish Orthodox religion.
Still very faithful and true to his religion, Matisyahu is known for mixing traditional Jewish themes with reggae, rock, and hip-hop beat-boxing sounds. Since 2004, he has released three studio albums as well as two live albums, two remix CDs, and two DVDs featuring live concerts. The reggae rapper gained nationwide attention with his single “King Without A Crown,” a Top 40 hit in the United States.
Matisyahu released his first album, Shake Off The Dust…Arise, in 2004 after signing with JDub Records, a not-for-profit record label that promotes Jewish musicians. He has performed with many other artists as well, including Sting, 311, and Sublime with Rome. His live version of “King Without A Crown” broke into the Modern Rock Top 10 in 2006. The accompanying video and album, Youth, were released on March 7th, 2006. On March 16th, Youth was Billboard magazine’s number-one digital album.
Since his debut, Matisyahu has been well received by both rock and reggae outlets. The New York Times wrote that “his sound owes a lot to early dancehall reggae stars like Barrington Levy and Eek-a-Mouse”.
Check out his performance on the David Letterman show:
King Without A Crown