Album Review: Matisyahu – ‘Light’ (100%)

Three albums in but it's not the music that's most interesting about this Hasidic Jewish rapper

It would be easy for Matisyahu to coast on novelty – the whole Hasidic Jewish rapper thing never gets too old and tired. Instead third album ‘Light’ maintains a level of earnestness that borders on fatiguing, his relentless sloganeering chiming less with mainstream rap audiences and more with branding agencies. “We don’t wanna fight no more/There’ll be no more wars and our children will play”, he sings on ‘One Day’, as if he’s saying something really profound. This barrage of generalised morality is cozened by overwrought production that sees the sun-baked reggae backbone of his previous efforts stripped out to make way for a confusing hotch-potch of styles and an overwhelming sense of desperation. The stilted dancehall of ‘Smash Lies’ is almost fun compared to the unremittingly awful raaawk guitar solo in ‘Motivate’, and really, does anyone actually like beatboxing apart from the person doing it? Three albums in and the beard is still the most interesting thing about him. Which is really sad, if you think about it.

Louise Brailey

Click here to get your copy of Matisyahu’s ‘Light’ from the Rough Trade shop