Billboard on Matis/JDub Split

It’s all about the Binyamins:

Matisyahu’s lawyer, Valerie Marcus, and Gersh declined to comment, but sources close to the rapper say there are two sides to the story. One source says the rapper had lost “thousands” from bad deals. Harris and Bisman claim to have no idea what such claims might be about, and say they have played a substantial role in developing Matisyahu’s unlikely career as a pop star.

Full story.
What’s interesting to me about most people’s defenses of Matis’ actions is their blatant hypocrisy, picking and choosing when halakha is relevant. If he broke Shabbos and performed on Friday night, everyone would throw a shit fit. But when he violates halakha pertaining to business ethics, no one seems to care. Feh.

16 thoughts on “Billboard on Matis/JDub Split

  1. obviously people care, mobius. it’s news all over the place. if it’s true he broke halakha, that was wrong. as a jew in the spotlight, it’s probably worse than wrong. i wouldn’t say jack abramoff wrong, but wrong nonetheless. still, who is perfect, mobius?
    is desecrating shabbos on the same level as what’s happened?
    business deals go sour every day between jews and jews, between jews and non-jews. i once heard rabbi mansour speak about this and you could see heads nodding, acknowledging familiarity with bad business practices in the community.
    is it right, then, to go ballistic on these jews, any jew, who messes up? do we yell and scream and point fingers and declare to the world the party’s guilt? is that part of halakha, too?
    you have a bias as somenone close to the parties involved. i have a bias as a fan of his music. but i tell you this: if he’s wrong, if he did what you and jdub say he did, than certainly i willing to believe he derserves censure from those close to him, his rabbi, and even himself. but to go on and on about it so publicly seems wrong. we are not judges.
    your agenda seems to be to show that he’s a fake, that a true halakhic jew would not do this, and therefore we should all turn our backs on him. i’m not convinced this is the right way to go about this.

  2. mmm hmm, mmm-bwAHAAAAHAAAHAAAA!!!!
    “their blatant hypocrisy, picking and choosing when halakha is relevant”
    OMFG that may just be the single most hilarious thing i’ve ever seen you write, mobius, or should i say, Rabbeinu Mobius, unambiguous defender of all things halachically binding!

  3. As others have pointed out, an Orthodox Jew who stops keeping kosher is perceived as no longer a religious Jew, whereas Jack Abramoff is perceived as a religious Jew who has done some really bad things. Fucked up.

  4. First of all, stop assuming that all Jews will blindly run to Matisyahu’s side. It’s so goddamn pretentious it’s not even funny.
    Matisyahu is screwing up big time. Not only is leaving JDub morally wrong (breach of contract, displays poor Jewish values), he is turning on guys who have stood by him and helped foster his career. It’s a terrible act of betrayal.
    I’m not one to go crazy about the Man, but that’s whom Matis is selling out to. Going with Capitol? They won’t even let him grow as an artist and explore his own creativity. They’ll tell him to do whatever sells and makes the most money for them. I really like what JDub is doing, promoting Jewish talent like that. It’s a real shame that Matis isn’t recognizing this.

  5. From all that I can tell about what happened between JDub and Matisyahu, he basically was a huge dick and you hae every right to be angry and sad about his back-stabbing betrayal. I just don’t know what this anger or even suing him will accomplish. JDub may be able to get money or some other form of compensation from Matis but clearly he has made the point that he no longer wants to work with JDub and there is nothing you can do about it. And anyways I thought that JDub was not-for-profit so what would getting money from him accomplish? I think that some type of true justice would only occur if you were to bring him before a Lubavitch beis din that could admonish him through the Jewish community (or his Rebbe) and maybe prove that he broke halakha. You have been betrayed by someone you thought a friend but will money really make you feel any better? That would just put you on a similar level as Matis, assuming that he made this move for the “Binyamins”.

  6. Mattisyahu didn’t sell out now, or even when he told Spin Magazine that he didn’t consider himself a “Jewish artist.” He sold out when he ditched he plans back in 2004 to make a Lubavitch niggun album because he decided it wasn’t commerically viable. He swore to me that he’d never give in to mainstream pressure, and then started caving. I don’t know why anything here is a surprise.

  7. if it were not for Jewschool, I would have never heard of Matis, so yes, Jdub-Mobius were the ones to expose me to him, thereby exposing my kids, who then turned their camp pals and shul pals onto Matis. So one person spread him to over 40 people, all from Jewschool. So Mobius/Jdub being inexperienced is a lame excuse.
    One of the questions I hear all the time, is : As an Chasidic does Matis “give” his money to Chabad? A lot of people think Chabad is a cult ( I don’t…I really love them, however I am not Chabad as the closest one is 40 miles and I can’t get there on Shabbos etc). So the question is too, are we supporting Chabad by buying and supporting Matis?
    Well, I don’t know the answer to this. I don’t know if Matis is required to give up income to Chabad etc. Doesn’t a man deserve a chance to feed his family etc?
    Is his Frum act all an act? Is it a gimmick? I don’t know…did anyone fault Bob Marley for being black, having dreads etc? Was that a gimmick too?
    I can see both sides to this( although I am not sure I have heard Matis’s side) as I have only read statements via jdub boards ,blogs, Jewschool etc.
    I don’t see how you can dis Matis on halakha, yet still think it is ok to dis him on the blogs.
    Jdub needs to find someone new anyway…more like Balkan Beat Box.! Or the Leevees…( I don’t care for So Called though)
    Business ethics are a very hard topic. What is ethical to one, may not be to another. I have been treated like crap at many an Israeli owned car mechanic,TV repair, plumber etc, so much so to never use them again. I thought I was “helping one of my own”, but it seems that they come from such a survival culture, they will do anything to survive, even ripping off a fellow Jew.
    Look at Jdate ripping desperate people off…is that OK?
    What about the jacked up prices on Pesach stuff? It’s cheaper to make noodles without flour, yet they are 5.00 a bad, when regular noodles are .88 a bag!
    So we are all hit by unethical practices.
    We come out on the high road in the way we react.
    Mobius, I know you have been hurt by this on a whole other level than business. This hurts you in a personal way, and that is so much worse than just a bad business deal.
    I hope you find peace with this at some point and realize that YOU did expose some kids to some good rap rather than a bunch of the foul mouthed crap on the radio. And in the end, that has a lasting effect, so I thank YOU for that!

  8. I’ve been a music writer and musician (on a thoroughly indie basis) long enough to know that bands actually can outgrow labels and agents — and that the best small labels just count themselves lucky to have been invoved at all. To me, you’re the one who sounds unscrupulous, spreading innuendos about a situation that the rest of us know only as a news story. I’m sureyour friends at JDub are pissed, but how about supplying some new facts, rather than fling mud. What the hell business is it of yours if Matisyahu breaks Shabbos? You sound shrill and childish.

  9. Considering my pal Mo’s appreciation for the oeuvre of the Wu-Tang Clan and related projects, I doubt he has any great aversion to foul-mouthed rap.
    And then of course, there’s that sinister motherfucker Bob Marley, who pulled the wool over all of our eyes with his brilliant, brilliant gimmick: being black. I’m glad somebody’s on the case to finally see through that.

  10. Your lack of clarity on issues of Jewish law are suprising, considering how intelligent you are. When biz dealings go sour, you go to a religious court, not the NY Times or Jewschool, or the internet.
    The blatent hypocricy lies not with Matis, but at your feet.

  11. “I’ve been a music writer and musician (on a thoroughly indie basis) long enough to know that bands actually can outgrow labels and agents.”
    Thank you Mur, this debate goes on and on without people realizing that the entertainment industry is a jungle and the bigger you get ther more complicated things are- sometimes you need a professional.
    Also, exactly which halachot did Matis break?

  12. There does seem to be a growing backlash, these things take time. The novelty apect of the act is what seems to be driving his growth now, not the talent. I’m not saying he’s without talent, but Toots and Maytals he isn’t, and the image gimmick is what is is getting people’s attention in the mainstream market. oooo, a Jew that can beatbox! A number of people have commented to me after seeing his shows that he didn’t live up th all the hype. I agree. Jdub did a great job growing him to a certain point organically. Mobius is rightly calling Matis out on turning his back on those that ‘brung’ him for the sake of- what? Personal gratification, be it finance of fame, career growth that capitalizes on the moment. And Gersh is exploiting that. Maybe so is Matis, maybe he knows this career isn’t long run , that family and study are more his bag and he’s cashing in chips early.
    Jdub did a fine job getting Matis to where he is… Turning your back on the friends who made your fame possible is pure chutzpah, and Mobius could feel betrayed but not hold up an issue were there not a contract. But yes, renegging on a firm contract from a halachic standpoint, is an issue. Yes Sarah, entertainment is a jungle, but that’s why there are such contracts, and their breach holds concequences. My opinion, Balkan Beat Box and Golem are waaaaay better act anyways, but without the same mainstream potential.

  13. Until we hear the whole story, we do not know whether he broke halacha or not. Maybe there was a breach of contract by the managers. We should not pre judge. Perhaps the managers should not have gone to the press with their story – is that an avera?
    I am wondering about some of the relationships here – which I think are multiple and perhaps conflciting. Jdub was his original lable – is the management seperate? Jdub is non profit – did the guys from JDUB have the management contract ont he side or did it belong to JDUB itself and all the money go to JDUB?
    Another question is, were they up to the task? Perhaps they could not perform the function properly?
    If Matisyahu broke a contract he will have to pay monetary damages.
    Lastly – Matisyahu’s audiance is not the Orthodox Jewih community. It is the unaffiliated community (in terms of kiruv) and most of his sales probably go to gentiles – so it is not very relavent if the Jewschool Tribe rejects him now.

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