|Directed by:||David Baugnon||Rating:||TV-PG|
|Release Date:||2004||Running Time:||12 mins.|
Blending Biblical themes with reggae rhythms, Matisyahu, an American-born Hasidic Jew, has found his own unique niche in music world. Matisyahu shows his live performances in New York City and offers an introspective interview with the young man himself, who was named by Billboard’s “Top Reggae Artist” of 2006.
“I got really into Bob Marley, then I got into hip hop. Then I became religious,” Matisyahu explains, “In some strange way, I connected to Judaism through Bob Marley, through the reggae music.”
Matisyahu offers a brief history of the musician’s spiritual and musical development, from his childhood in Berkley, California — where he went to Grateful Dead shows with his parents — to his trip to Israel as a teenager, to a discussion of his current success.
A complex young man, Matisyahu felt isolated in his search for holiness, but through prayers and music he found his answer. Matisyahu’s been called the “most lovable oddball” and “most intriguing reggae artist in the world.” His originality has brought him lots of attention — a rapping Hasid is hard to come by.
The film touches on the musician’s unique personality. “The guys were all into blunts and 40s,” Matisyahu says about his early youth, “and the girls never wanted me to be serious.” But, as he explains, he had a very serious side that craved something more than ephemeral pleasures. Although he was born a secular Jew, after deep self-reflection and his inspiring trip to Israel, he decided to convert to Hasidic Judaism. His life, which was once full of drugs and girls, saw a drastic change—he now lives within the large Hasidic population in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and child.
Matisyahu is a fun look at a musician who hopes his music will inspire spiritual awareness in his listeners.