The Arty Semite

Jews Scoop Up Juno Nominations

By Renee Ghert-Zand

The nominees for the 2013 Juno Awards have been announced, and among them are Jewish musicians Drake, Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen and Toronto group Jaffa Road, which was nominated for Best World Music Album for “Where The Light Gets In.”

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The Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys, will be given out on April 21 in a ceremony broadcasted from Regina, Saskatchewan hosted by vocalist Michael Bublé. It is sure to be a big night for all the nominated artists — some familiar to American music fans, and some less known outside Canada. The former include international sensations like Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame and teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber. Pop and country singer-songwriter k.d. lang will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Toronto-born-and-bred hip-hop artist Drake, 26, recently scooped up his first Grammy for best Best Rap Album for “Take Care.” He is nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award. Director X (aka Julien Christian Lutz) is nominated for Video of the Year for Drake’s HYFR video.

Leonard Cohen, the legendary 78-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist is being recognized in a number of categories. The Montreal native is nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award, Artist of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year (for three songs on his “Old Ideas” album).

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Rick Ross Has a 'Black Bar Mitzvah'

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Rick Ross may not be Jewish, but he’s seems to know something about opulent bar miztvahs.

The blockbuster Miami rapper released a free new mixtape last night called “Black Bar Mitzvah,” an 18-track album featuring contributions from Drake, Pharrell and others. Ross is pictured on the cover inside a gold Star of David.

“Black bar mitzvah. Black Hebrews. All my Jewish partners. All my business endeavors. Open your minds!” he chants, nonsensically, over the album’s intro track. “We get more money. We owners now.”

Ross boasts that he’s in the fiscal company of Vegas magnates Steven Wynn (whose first name he gets wrong) and the Maloof family.

“My boat was twelve million,” he says.

The album invokes an exceptionally extravagant bar mitzvah, with a twist. In an interlude track, Hot 97 radio host Peter Rosenberg (son of MJJ) plays a rabbi welcoming guests.

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Why Matisyahu Is More Interesting Than His Music

By Mordechai Shinefield

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Last week on an adorable TMZ segment, former Degrassi child actor and current ubiquitous pop radio presence Drake called himself “one of the best Jews to ever do it,” where “it” presumably meant spitting lines. Conveniently timed to coincide with the release of his new album, “Live at Stubb’s Vol. II,” peyot-sporting rap-reggae-pop singer Matisyahu fought back: “He happens to be Jewish just like Bob Dylan happened to be Jewish, but what I’m doing is really tapping into my roots and culture, and trying to blend that with the mainstream… Drake’s being Jewish is just a by-product.” Jay-Z vs. Nas Pt. II this is not (it’s not even Eminem vs. Insane Clown Posse quality), but it does raise a question that anyone writing and reading about Jewish music has to confront eventually: What is Jewish music?

A snarkier critic might point out that Matisyahu dueting with Evangelical Christian nu-metal rockers P.O.D. in 2006 did very little for his Jewish bona fides (the “Testify” album cover contained a giant crucifix in place of the second ‘t’) but I’ll just wonder aloud if Matisyahu returning to Stubb’s on an album indicates his own uncertainty about his Jewishness.

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Out and About: Woody Allen Film To Open Cannes; The Legacy of Lenny Bruce

By Ezra Glinter

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