If all he ever did in his life was executive produce Illmatic, coin the term “gasface,” or stomp out a Vanilla Ice lookalike—MC Serch’s hip hop credentials would be unimpeachable. Coming straight outta Far Rockaway Queens, a teenage Michael Berrin could be found at the Latin Quarter four nights a week, his latest 12-inch on Idlers Records in hand.

His work with 3rd Bass, starting with 1989’s The Cactus Album—as well as his solo album, 1992’s Return of the Product—carved out a space for melanin-deficient rap artists to represent the culture with thoroughness, dignity, and not a trace of “novelty.” In other words, lyrics over gimmicks.

After putting down the mic, Serch went on to work in radio, TV, and music publishing. But the man who cultivated acts like O.C. and Non Phixion keeps his eyes and ears keenly focused on the next generation of rap talent.

These days the rap game is more like the crack game than ever—hard white as far as the eye can see. Jews have always been a force in hip hop, from Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin to Tommy Boy founder Tom Silverman to the chief check writer himself, Lyor motherfuckin’ Cohen. But who’s the nicest on these mic devices?

The time seemed right to reach out to Serch, who blessed Complex with his own highly opinionated guide to Jews who rap—presented in alphabetical order—just in time for Yom Kippur. L’Chaim!

Intro by Rob Kenner (@boomshots)

Written by MC Serch.

Tags: mc-serch, mac-miller, drake, alchemist, asher-roth
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