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Matisyahu was born Matthew Paul Miller in 1979, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His family eventually settled in White Plains in Westchester County, New York. He was brought up a Reconstructionist Jew, and attended Hebrew school at Bet Am Shalom, a synagogue in White Plains. He spent much of his childhood barely learning the tenets of Judaism, but by the time he was a teenager, Matisyahu began to rebel against his lack of upbringing. He started taking drugs and dropped out of White Plains Senior High School. He became a self-professed "Phish-head," taking hallucinogens and following the rock band Phish on tour. He finished high school at a wilderness program in Bend, Oregon.

In the fall of 1995,[citation needed] Matisyahu took part in a two-month program at the Alexander Muss High School in Hod Hasharon, Israel, a program which offers students first-hand exploration of Jewish heritage as a way of solidifying Jewish identity. After he finished Muss, he returned to New York, where he subsequently dropped out of high school after the first day of his senior year and traveled around the country. A stint in a rehabilitation center in upstate New York followed, and he then went to Oregon on a wilderness expedition trip for teenagers. "It was not necessarily for drug rehabilitation, but that was part of the reason I was out there," he explained to a journalist of The Jewish Daily Forward in 2008.

In Oregon, he identified himself as "Matt, the Jewish rapper kid from New York." In Oregon (unlike in New York City), Matisyahu said, "I was suddenly the token Jew. This was now my search for my own identity, and part of Judaism feeling more important and relevant to me." He moved back to New York and started developing his reggae, spending hours in his room, writing and practicing his style to the accompaniment of hip-hop tapes. Around that same time, he says, he started to become more interested in Judaism, taking classes on Jewish spirituality at The New School. Matisyahu approached Eli Cohen, a rabbi at New York University, about learning. He recounts that at the same time, he started praying, getting himself a siddur (prayer book) and tallit (prayer shawl). He learned of the Carlebach Shul (synagogue), located on the Upper West Side, and started going there every Sabbath, as well as wearing a yarmulke (head covering) and tzitzit (fringed undergarment). It was then that he met NYU’s Chabad rabbi, Dov Yonah Korn, someone he could relate to. Matisyahu began playing with the Jewish band Pey Dalid.[citation needed] At the age of 19, Matisyahu formally joined the Lubavitch movement and took Matisyahu as a Hebrew form of his name.

Matthew Paul Miller (born June 30, 1979), known by his Hebrew and stage name Matisyahu ("Gift of God"), is an American reggae rapper and alternative rock musician.

Known for blending Orthodox Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop beatboxing sounds, Matisyahu's 2005 single "King Without a Crown" was a Top 40 hit in the United States. Since 2004, he has released four studio albums as well as two live albums, two remix CDs and two DVDs featuring live concerts. In addition, Matisyahu played the role of Tzadok in The Possession, a supernatural horror film directed by Ole Bornedal and co-produced by Sam Raimi. Through his career, Matisyahu has worked with Bill Laswell, reggae producers Sly & Robbie, and Kool Kojak.


Chop 'Em Down
Got No Water
King Without A Crown
One Day
Time Of Your Song

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