The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

CD Review-50 Shekel: In Da Shul to Hooked on the Truth

By Sharon Murra-Kapon/south news editor

From In Da Shul to Hooked on the Truth, Aviad Cohen, aka 50 Shekel, a former Jewish rapper, has made a 180-degree turn in his religion, music style and theme.

In 2003, Aviad stepped onto the scene as 50 Shekel, the Heeb Hop rapper with his classic parody remake of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” song called “In Da Shul,” which became very popular.

Q Magazine labeled Aviad the World’s Most Kosher MC.

Raised in a conservative Orthodox Jewish family, the American-Israeli felt the need to create a legacy for the Jewish Community around the world.

In an interview with Belief.net, Aviad said his act grew out of a deep love for Judaism’s long tradition of keeping history alive and rap is a great story-telling medium.

Yet the “King of Heeb Hop” stunned the Jewish world when he accepted Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) as the real Jewish Messiah. Many believe that Aviad is the first Orthodox Jewish performer to declare himself a Jew for Jesus.
The change began in 2004 when Aviad listened to a Christian radio station for the first time and started researching Jesus, the man he had known as a prophet.

When he heard controversies about Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ, questions began to rise. He felt compelled to watch the movie and prove for himself who Jesus was.

“My mouth was wide open for about 20 minutes straight,” Aviad said on his Web site (aviadcohen.com), “I was shocked.”

Aviad said he decided Jesus is the real Jewish Messiah and on his album tells fearlessly about what God has done for him in an upbeat techno Gospel style.

On his feature song “Hooked on the Truth,” he sings, “Let me tell you about a story that’s called my life. I was a Jew boy and now I came to Christ / I came I, I saw I, I opened up that Book, now look at me I’m hooked on the Truth yeah.”

Although he now believes in Jesus, Aviad still considers himself a Jew.

“I was a wandering Jew. Now I am a true Jew,” he said in an interview with The Collegian.

He carefully backed up his beliefs with portions of the Old and New Testament.

“Meeting with the Rabbi” is a conversation with a Rabbi who does not believe in Jesus.

Aviad explains why he believes and reads portions of the Bible that predicted the coming of Jesus several hundred years before he was born.

His convictions reflect throughout the album.

However, every song has a very different musical approach. The album is like reading through the pages of his new life.

Aviad composed all the lyrics and music except for “We Delight in Your Shabbat.” Two of the tracks, “Tehillim 140” (Psalms) and “Mark 10,” are from the Bible version The Scriptures. Another track recites the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew by a girl named Haya.

The reading breaks between some of the songs flow well, especially because of the music in the background.

“Reach Out to You” encourages the listener not to be stuck in all the negative stuff, but to look beyond it.

In the middle of his new life and joy, he has seen negative reactions, but he also has an answer to that on “Fallen World.”

“Praise Yah” (Praise God), “Highest Mountain” and “J-E-S-U-S” are cheerful and promote praising God freely. “The Lost Generation (found)” is a prayer for those who do not know the truth yet.

“Chosen Men” is the only slow-paced song, challenging listeners to ask the “One who guides” for the truth, and He will answer.

Using his imagination at the very end, Aviad creates a TV show atmosphere on “Advice for Mr. Millionaire,” in which he is a guest and the topic of the conversation is gratitude.

Mr. Millionaire has an interesting way of giving thanks, and Aviad talks about his own method.

For the most part, every song has a good length, style and rhythm.

Aviad created the album using Apple’s Garageband software, and obviously has the guts to step out of the norm, lifting a wave of love and hate, but standing strong and committed to his faith.

“There’s no way I could have done it without Him,” he said. “This album is entirely for His glory.”

Aviad’s testimony is traveling the world. Articles about his story and new music are circulating in Germany, New Zealand, Israel, Denmark, Australia, France and United Kingdom among others.

However, in spite of all this, Aviad said he is a friend to all and that he does not consider the audience as fans.

“I am a regular guy,” he said. “I am just glad God saved me before I was too deep into it.”

The whole album is streaming on www.aviadcohen.com, plus three other new songs: “Israel,” “Pray” and “Magic Wands and Little Spells.”

Aviad is creating a new taste and a very different audience; he is what I call a gospel-techno-true-Jew-for-Jesus performer.

His way of putting it all together is impressive.

It sounds like a work of many, so I give it two thumbs up and five stars. Other reviews are posted on www.cdbay.com/cd/aviad.

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