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About Hip Hop Hoodíos

You can order the Raza Hoodía EP from, or directly from the artists. Send $8.99 to Hip Hop Hoodíos CD Offer, c/o JN Media - attention: Josh Norek, 612 Cochran Ave. - suite 402C, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Hip Hop Hoodíos / Raza Hoodío

Review | Personnel | Songlist/sound samples

faux hebrew lettering, faux puerto rican flagsHip Hop Hoodíos
Raza Hoodía EP

N Media LLC JNM129, 2002

Send $8.99 to Hip Hop Hoodíos CD Offer, c/o JN Media - attention: Josh Norek, 612 Cochran Ave. - suite 402C, Los Angeles, CA 90036


This is just fantastic. The band's name is a play on "hood" and "Judios" and that's as good an explanation of where they're coming from, and of the Latin-Jewish sounds herein contained, as you'll get. The cover of the EP, set in "faux Hebrew" lettering, with a display of Puerto Rican flags on what could be a neighborhood wall, with the magen david substituted for the five-pointed star on the official version, and a huge tag to the bottom, makes it even more obvious. From the opening "Havana Nagila" riffing on everything Jewish ("...a jew for gays, a jew for goys, a jew for girls, a jew for boys/a jew for allah, a jew for jesus..."), with Spanish rap and distored "Havana Nagila" this EP is about being Jewish, and being a mixture of everything from Sephardic song, Brooklyn Latin street culture, and Ashkenazic Hasidic riffs. It's also about dancing.

Lyrics are in predominantly in English and Spanish, with Hebrew and Ladino, and who knows what. Unlike bands which rip off hip hop or rap rhythms to recycle a Fifties, even self-hating Jewishness, this music has an immediacy and an authenticity that moves the feet and speaks of having being street-wise and Jewish--and not willing to leave the "Jewish" in the closet. There is even a rai kind of North African sound on "Raza Hoodía" ("The Jewish race", I guess) featuring Shloime the subway train. The heavy bass beat on Flory Jagoda's "Ocho Kandelikas", with ripping guitar into something that they claim is the "most moshable Hanukkah tune of all time." I'm not going to disagree. I also smiled at songs that I expected to piss me off--"Dicks & Noses" ("You like our dicks and you like our noses/you see a Jewish guy and you forget where your clothes is") and "Kike on the Mic". I'm at an age where this sort of pinche machismo boasting leaves me cold, and I've gotten pinche impatient with pinche obscenity for shock value. But I really, really like the way this band spoofs the idea of adolescent bravado while also being very much in the listener's face about being Jewish and very proud of it. The words everywhere are great (at least those in languages I understand). And after this song, in particular, you'll never, ever, listen to "dreidle, dreidle" again the same way.

This Latin-Jewish fusion with the "Jewish" part right in your face. It's not polite. "I'm white with a Phd/...I'm on the mic/I'm a Yid/gonna blow my lid/my sound is fresh/like a pound of flesh/my nose is large/and you know I'm in charge...." Fun to listen to, fun to dance to, and clever enough to actually listen to the words over and over.

Part of the reason this EP is so good is that the band members have already paid dues in other hip hop bands. The credibility plays off behind the scene as well. Members of leading Latin alternative actis Los Mocosos and Orixa participate on "Ocho Kandelikas". Does that make this a one-time side project? A place to do shtick? In any event, I'm hoping that there's more (and some live gigs up here in Boston!). From Josh Norek:

We have a lot of other original songs that have been written since the EP. Some of our new material is political ("1492" talks about the Jews who forcibly converted to Catholocism in Spain, and how millions of Latinos actually have some Jewish blood). Because many of our members come from major label Latin rock bands, we probably actually have more Latino fans than Jewish ones (which in itself has been a fascinating phenomenon for us).... Another song not on the EP, called "No Nose Jobs" is a re-working of a 1990 rap song by a group called Digital Underground. Their version was about black women who were ashamed of their physical features. We updated it to be about Jewish women - it's sort of a revised ethnic pride anthem.

The project was originally started just for fun as a side project, but in the past few weeks major labels like MCA, Virgin, and TVT have started calling us. Because of our members' musical backgrounds, we're fortunate to start off with a level of credibility that most new bands lack.

What seems to differentiate this band from previous Jewish bands that have pretended to do rap (2 Live Jews, MOT) is the pride issue. Where those bands seem stuck in a sense of safe, even self-hating Jewish satire (guys making fun of Jewish women and especially Jewish mothers), what I'm hearing is a funky, absolutely delightful non-classist, in-your-face Jewish pride, and the pleasure of making good, even macho, out Jewish music. That isn't to say that there isn't satire or humor here, but that the satire isn't directed at putting Jews down. This is Jewish edge music at its affirmative best. Good dance music, too

You can order the Raza Hoodía EP from, or directly from the artists. Send $8.99 to Hip Hop Hoodíos CD Offer, c/o JN Media - attention: Josh Norek, 612 Cochran Ave. - suite 402C, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 6/12/00

Personnel this recording:
Federico Fong: pinche bass, drums, backing vox
Josuá Noriega: pinche vox, bass, percussion
Adam Salzman de Weinstein ("Ad-Salza")(: pinche guitar, backing vox
Abraham Velez: pinche acoustic guitar, drums, bass, backing vox



  1. Havana Nagilah (after trad./Noriega/Velez/Pakov) 3:58
    Play this clip from
  2. Raza Hoodía (Noriega/Pakov) 3:08
    Play this clip from
  3. Ocho Kandelikas (Flory Jagoda, arr. Noriega/Sanchez/Caipo) 3:31
  4. Dicks and Noses (Noriega/Pakov/Thomsen/Martin/Thomas/Martinez) 3:47
  5. Kike on the Mic (Noriega/Velez/Pakov) 4:33

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