06
Aug
09

Heep Hope

I’m not a big fan of rap, never have been. Never got too excited about the whole “bling” factor. Although, I do like some artists who seem genuine, like Lauryn Hill (before she went mental) and Outkast. You know, the guys who “keep it real”. The Israeli hip-hop (pronounced “heep-hope” in this part of the world) scene isn’t much to brag about. But there are a few exceptions. One of them being a band I listen to when I jog, and they always manage to make me smile through all the sweat: HaDag Nachash (the fish snake? or is it the snake fish? hmmm…). Wikipedia has some ideas about what the name means.

HaDag Nahash are a band from Jerualem, and what’s cool about them is they talk about everyday life in Israel, about the difficulties, the injustice, the racism and more. No bling, no showing off – just trying to spread the message. Here are a few of my favorites:

This one’s called “We’re not Frayerim (suckers)

Never translated a song before, but let’s try a few lines (no attempt whatsoever to keep the rhyming):

(How much longer?)

In our dreams will we sail like a Mig

And look over the stench from a safe distance

Which is 5 minutes from Kfar Saba

(How much longer?)

Will we keep our eyes shut

To what’s happening right beneath our noses

We’ll get another beer from the fridge

And keep surfing the channels

Chorus: (And we’ll do reserve duty)

We’ll pay the taxes

(And we’ll stand in the traffic jams)

Nobody screws with us

(We’re definitely, definitely, defenitely not frayerim)

Here’s another clip, “The Number Song”, and this one has English subtitles:

One of my favorites is “Here I come”, which if you saw “Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, you might already be familiar with it. It talks about a guy debating on where to live, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Should he stay in Jerusalem, where all his friends are, where the hummus is good, where the weather is nice, or should he got toSoddom and Gommora and have some fun with the Tel Avivi women?

And here’s one by a guy named Mookie. Not really a rap song, but a nice tune about his relationship with God.

I’m not afraid of you

Just want to meet you

I have no doubt of you

You of me and me of you

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7 Responses to “Heep Hope”


  1. 1 Karen
    August 6, 2009 at 13:00

    I’m disappointed you didn’t mention the Sticker Song – written by David Grossman himself!

    Israelis take bumper stickers to a whole new level

    • 2 shmookty
      August 6, 2009 at 13:36

      True, that’s a good one too. Maybe we should say “compiled”, not written. All the lyrics, every one of them, are real bumper stickers in Israel.

  2. 3 Lee
    August 7, 2009 at 14:57

    My friend Jon the Gingi played Subliminal for his Savta. Hilarity ensued.

  3. August 11, 2009 at 01:48

    hadag nachash! One of my very first introductions to Israeli music, when I was starting to learn hebrew.. I stumbled upon “Shalom salam peace” (with subtitles)
    The solo in approximate Arabic in particular cracked me up – and still does. “I saw people living in peace, like the kangoroos and the koalas? Who else can sing that?? 🙂


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