Mac Miller, 26, was a successful rapper who passed away after an overdose on September 7. Miller was regarded as scrappy, since he was one of the few rappers to make it from internet-famous to mainstream success. His rhymes were known for being laid-back and smooth. Another trait that made him unique as a rapper? He was Jewish.
While his father was Christian, Miller’s mother was Jewish. He himself was raised Jewish, and even had a bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ceremony where a boy becomes a man. Miller even has a Star of David tattoo on his hand. However, he described himself as a “Jewish Buddhist tryna consume the views of Christianity,” in lyrics from “S.D.S.”
Miller also referenced his Jewish identity in his music, once again in “S.D.S.” when he rapped, “Search the world for Zion or a shoulder I can cry on/I’m the best of all time, I’m Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan.”
However, there are several famous rappers who are actually Jewish. Drake, an incredibly successful rapper, is also Jewish, on his mother’s side. He attended Jewish Day School as a child in Canada, and like Miller, had a bar mitzvah. He has been seen sporting a diamond studded “Chai” necklace and is open about his Jewish heritage, even his in music.
“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,” he rapped on his track “Still Drake.”
Drake has proclaimed in the past that he was “the best Jew in the rap game,” and Miller playfully responded that he himself was “the coolest Jewish rapper” in an interview with Shalom Life.
Matisyahu is another Jewish rapper and reggae artist that has found mainstream success. He was raised in a strict, conservative Jewish household which he rebelled against, turning to drugs to find answers. After finding his way out of the darkness, he used his music to help him cope, and became a Hasidic Jew. While he may no longer identify as a member of the Hasidic community, he is still proud of his Jewish identity. He is best known for his 2005 single “King Without a Crown,” which was a Top 40 hit in the United States.
Rapper Lil Dicky is also Jewish. He references his upbringing and identity in “Professional Rapper”, which was co-written by Snoop Dogg.