Hip-Hop Hanukkah: The 25 Best Jewish References In Rap

Join us as we run through The 25 Best Jewish References In Rap.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Jews have long been a big part of the hip-hop industry, from Rock & Roll Hall of Famers the Beastie Boys, to label titan Lyor Cohen, to publicists, agents, and on-air personalities. The once-famous Shyne once-famously converted to Judaism. Chances are, there were at least two hip-hop industry insiders, and one hip-hop beef at your seder table this past Spring.

Almost as long as there's been hip-hop, there have been lyrics that call upon Jewish culture: the good, the bad, and the nebbishy. So what better time than Hanukkah, the festival of lights, for ItsTheReal to do some light work and debate the Jewish lines that are most clever, most funny, and have the most chutzpah?

Join us as we run through The 25 Best Jewish References In Rap, from those who aspire to be a part of the tribe, to those who live what they say in their rhymes...

RELATED: Complex's 50 Hottest Jewish Women

Written by Eric Rosenthal & Jeff Rosenthal (@ItsTheReal)

25. Drake "Still Drake" (2009)

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Lyric: "I was born to do it, born to make bomb music/I flow tight like I was born Jewish/Well, actually I was born Jewish."
Album: The Drought is Over: Friends with Money
Producer: Dr. Dre
Label: N/A

Drake references Jay-Z's "This Can't Be Life" off the Dynasty album and puffs out his chest like King Solomon, triumphantly repping his religious set. Fast-forward to 2011 though, and Drizzy's brought Jews back down to the image of the soft emotional complainers we were always accused of being.

24. Black Sheep "Hoes We Knows" (1991)

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Lyric: "A fresh jimmy hat and some kosher meat."
Album: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Producer: William McLean, Andre "Dres" Titus
Label: Mercury

Forget Sabrett's and other unclipped frankfurters! Hebrew National fills stomachs like no other hot dog. It's name-brand trusted and mother-approved, and a breakfast of champions for a certain type of woman.

23. Action Bronson "Buddy Guy" (2011)

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Lyric: "Far from a beginner, keep an extra cartridge in the denim/Twisted off of Manischewitz, Harlem in a rental."
Album: Dr. Lecter
Producer: Tommy Mas
Label: Fine Fabric Delegates

"Twisted off of Manischewitz?" Props to Action for shouting out a Jewish brand, but Bronsolino, who may be heavy in the streets, is apparently just a lightweight when it comes to sipping on that Jewish wine.

22. Peedi Crakk "Shake It For Me" (2007)

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Lyric: "Half Puerto Rican and black, they think I'm Jewish."
Album: Welcome to Crakk's House
Producer: N/A
Label: N/A

Let's clear this up: No one has ever thought that Peedi Crakk is Jewish.

21. Mac Miller "Under The Weather" (2011)

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Lyric: "Cool with it, chillin' with some buddah smoke/I always do it big like a Jewish nose."
Album: Blue Slide Park
Producer: I.D. Labs
Label: Rostrum

Being self-effacing about your face is the ultimate way to know you're Jewish. We're just waiting on a line about your chinstrap, Mac!

20. Nas "American Way" (2004)

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Lyric: "Up in the steam room chilling, exfoliating the skin/Israeli men conversatin' on ends, probably businessmen."
Album: Street's Disciple
Producer: Q-Tip
Label: Ill Will/Columbia

What? Nas is just celebrating Jewish men and their clear skin in the steam room after a nice workout at the gym. What's wrong with that? It's not like he said they were lawyers.

19. Pras "Ghetto Supastar" (1998)

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Lyric: "Strike with the forces of King Solomon/Letting bygones be bygones, and so on, and so on."
Album: Ghetto Supastar
Producer: Jerry 'Wonda' Duplessis/Wyclef Jean
Label: Interscope

According to the Bible (or at least Wikipedia's annotated version), King Solomon had several hundred wives and three hundred concubines. So, uh, yea: the man knew how to hit.

18. Fat Joe f/ Lil' Wayne "U Ain't Sayin' Nothin' (Remix)" (2008)

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Lyric: "Yeah, long hair, don't care, like the Jewish." (Lil Wayne)
Album: The Elephant in the Room
Producer: Cool & Dre
Label: Koch

Wayne shows love to the Hasidic Jews, whose long curls by their ears (peyes) are grown in tribute to God. No word yet as to which God Wayne's father Birdman prays to, though.

17. Lil' B "Dr. Phil" (2010)

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Lyric: "Damn it's a party crackin' like it's Bar Mitzvah/36 bitches on my dick 'cause I'm Sisqo."
Album: N/A
Producer: Transfixion
Label: N/A


16. Busta Rhymes "Pass The Courvoisier, Part 1" (2001)

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Lyric: "We holdin' Jewish money now, down to the credit card, different from yours."
Album: Genesis
Producer: Nottz
Label: Flipmode/J

Lots of rappers claim to keep their pockets fat, but who has the follow-through? Apparently Busta Rhymes, who at the turn of the century, preferred to hold "Jewish money"—Israeli currency, or Shekels. Those are seven-gram coins, so shouts to Busta for actually carrying that weight! (Of course, years later Busta opted for that "Arab money")

15. Game "Hoodmorning (No Typo)" (2011)

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Lyric: "Moving rocks from two to six/Jimmy Iovine money, eating on some Jewish shit."
Album: Candy Coronas
Producer: Mars
Label: N/A

Game probably intended for this line to come off like he was making a lot of bank, but we choose to read it as Game admitting that Jimmy Iovine—his label boss, and sometimes enemy—was pooping into his mouth. That's closer to the truth, anyway. Also: Jimmy Iovine's not Jewish.

14. Ludacris "Blow It Out" (2003)

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Lyric: "I eat dinner with Jews, but don't talk to strangers."
Album: Chicken-N-Beer
Producer: Ron Browz
Label: DTP/Def Jam

Ludacris is equating Jews with strangers, which seems impossible: Not only was he the first artist signed to Lyor Cohen's Def Jam South, but he's also now in movies. Sure, he's never been on a kibbutz, but he's definitely kibitzed.

13. Kanye West f/ Cam'Ron "Christmas in Harlem" (2010)

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Lyric: "Shouts to the coldest on my barometer/Berkman, Shapiro, Kalina, Hanukkah." (Cam'Ron)
Album: N/A
Producer: Kanye West
Label: G.O.O.D.

Honestly, no one is colder than the Jews. We rock big hats, big furs and big ram's horns; skullys all-year-round. Cam'ron knows this, even if he doesn't know that Hanukkah isn't really a last-name, but actually a holiday. It can be confusing.

12. Jim Jones "Baby Girl" (2005)

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Lyric: "Jewish lawyer nigga, so I got to beat the charges."
Album: Harlem: Diary of a Summer
Producer: Zukhan-Bey
Label: Diplomat/Koch

Jim Jones eloquently rephrases a question as old as time: Which came first, the Jewish lawyer or the accused rapper? "Baby Girl" features Max B on the hook—who, for the record, needed a better Jewish lawyer.

11. Pusha T "Cook It Down (Freestyle)" (2011)

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Lyric: "Rap shit'll drive you crazy, it done drove Shyne Jew/Yuck/Mazel Tov/Now I'm hotter than a molotov/Tell Lyor I need a million for my monologues/A small price for my cocaine catalog."
Album: Fear of God
Producer: Boi-1da
Label: Decon/Re-Up/G.O.O.D.

Listen, if "crazy" means converting to Judaism and getting a million-dollar deal from LA Reid, then sign us up at the psych ward! And Pusha's brother Malice can tag along too!

10. Mos Def "The Rape Over" (2004)

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Lyric: "Some tall Israeli is running this rap shit."
Album: The New Danger
Producer: Kanye West
Label: Rawkus/Geffen

Lyor Cohen has always been running this rap shit, even back in 1986 when he was just Russell Simmons' assistant. (Fun fact, stolen from Dan Charnas's book The Big Payback: DMC of Run-DMC called Lyor a "girallama," because he thought Lyor looked like a mashed-up giraffe and llama. And DMC was never heard from again.)

9. Puff Daddy f/ The LOX "It's All About The Benjamins (Original)" (1998)

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Lyric: "Stack chips like Hebrews." (Jadakiss)
Album: No Way Out
Producer: Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie
Label: Bad Boy

Back in the Bad Boy days, Al-Qaeda Jada flaunted wealth like it was a shiny suit, and this line was a standout on an enormous hit. Although you could hear Jada spit this line on the original version of the song which appeared on Bad Boy mixtapes, the line was curiously edited out on the song's remix which became the retail version that appeared on No Way Out. Later, though, Jada, Styles and Sheek Louch would claim that something was fishy with their Diddy deal, and it wasn't the Lox.

8. Drake f/ Rick Ross "Lord Knows" (2011)

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Lyric: "Only fat nigga in a sauna with Jews." (Rick Ross)
Album: Take Care
Producer: Just Blaze
Label: Young Money

Weirdly enough, he's probably not the only guy in the Jewish sauna with that name, though. (Rick Ross is such a Jewish name. Boca Raton and Long Island are probably rotten with skinny bookish kids named Rick Ross.)

7. Jay-Z "What More Can I Say" (2003)

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Lyric: "The Martha Stewart that's far from Jewish/Far from a Harvard student, just had the balls to do it."
Album: The Black Album
Producer: The Buchanans
Label: Roc-a-Fella

Does Jay-Z know that Martha Stewart isn't Jewish? The woman bakes hams! She wears Oxford shirts! She's from Connecticut! Just because she's the antichrist doesn't mean she's on our side.

6. The LOX "Bitches From Eastwick" (1998)

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Lyric: "Today I got a session wit Ronnie I mean Veronica/Met her last year about a week before Hanukkah /Sounds foolish I mean honey wasn't Jewish/But she had a lot of dough and she was nice on computers." (Jadakiss)
Album: Money, Power & Respect
Producer: Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie & Chucky Thompson
Label: Bad Boy

If there was a Jewish stereotype we weren't aware of, it would be that we're 'nice on computers.' (Take if from the Jews who are actually 'nice on computers'.)

5. Ice Cube "No Vaseline" (1991)

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Lyric: "You let a Jew break up the crew!"
Album: Death Certificate
Producer: Ice Cube, Sir Jinx
Label: Priority

In Ice Cube's legendary diss aimed at his former comrades in N.W.A., Cube takes a shot at N.W.A.'s manager, Jerry Heller, whose questionable business tactics were more to blame than his last name. Twenty years later, the line lives in infamy as an example of just how anti-Semitic rap can be at times. Meanwhile, Ice Cube lives in family-friendly films and Jerry Heller lives in Calabasas, California.

4. The Fugees "How Many Mics" (1996)

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Lyric: "So on my day off, With David Sonnenberg I play golf/Run through Crown Heights screaming out Mazel Tov." (Wyclef Jean)
Album: The Score
Producer: The Fugees, Shawn King & Jerry Duplessis
Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia

It's not that we don't believe this is what Wyclef ever did in his free time; he absolutely could be the guy who speaks Spanish to the guy at Taco Bell. It's just that there's no place to play golf in Brooklyn, so, like, why would he end up there?

3. Drake "Over" (2010)

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Lyric: "But I really can't complain, everything is kosher/Two thumbs up, Ebert and Roeper."
Album: Thank Me Later
Producer: Boi-1da, Al Khaaliq
Label: Young Money

The only way this line could be better is if it were delivered not by Drake—our Jewish brother from another country—but by a rabbi finishing up his inspection of a Matzoh bakery. Or if Drake were that rabbi; that would actually take the kosher cake.

2. Jay Electronica "Exhibit C" (2009)

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Lyric: "They call me Jay Electronica/Fuck that/Call me Jay ElecHannukah/Jay ElecYarmulke."
Album: N/A
Producer: Just Blaze
Label: Control Freaq Records/Decon

Call him Adam Sandler. Fuck that: call him, Adam Sandler. (Actually, don't: Jay Elec-[fill-in-the-blank]-akuh will probably give your phone number and/or BBM PIN out on Twitter.)

1. Jay-Z "Roc Boys" (2007)

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Lyric: "Rich niggas, black bar mitzvahs/Mazel tov, it's a celebration bitches/L' chaim."
Album: American Gangster
Producer: Diddy, LV, Sean C
Label: Roc-a-Fella

Mazel tov—it's a celebration, bitches!

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