Matisyahu shaves, quits Chasidic rap industry

The Jewish Chronicle, UK/December 13, 2011

The Orthodox Jewish rapper Matisyahu has shocked fans by shaving his beard and informing them that there is to be "no more Chasidic reggae superstar".

After posting a photograph of himself – shaven – on Twitter, he elaborated on his change on his website.

The musician, who grew up as Matthew Miller in a secular family, said that when he began embracing religion and exploring his Jewish spirituality a decade ago "it was a very natural and organic process".

He said that at the time he felt the need "to submit to a higher level of religiosity.

"I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules — lots of them — or else I would somehow fall apart," he said. But he added that he was now "reclaiming myself".

The star, who is married with three sons, promised fans that he would still perform, writing: "Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth.

"And for those concerned with my naked face, don't worry…you haven't seen the last of my facial hair."

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