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Canadian emcee and producer Socalled grew up as Josh Dolgin in Chelsea, Quebec, a small suburb in Ottawa with a population of about 6,700. There, he took piano lessons until high school, when he switched to the accordion. Sounds like your typical hip-hop career trajectory, right? Wait -- there's more. He also plays in multiple klezmer bands and conducts the Addath Israel choir, which performs on Jewish holidays. Oh, and he's a cartoonist and a magician, too. His debut solo album is perhaps best described as klezmer-hop; it samples from Yiddish theater recordings and is about, um, Passover. Yes, Socalled might sound like the nerdiest hip-hop head this side of Weird Al's cover of "Chamillionaire," but he also makes some of the flyest beats and spits some of the wittiest rhymes this side of the Red Sea. He has lent his skills as a pianist, singer, arranger, emcee, songwriter and producer to dozens of recordings in genres ranging from jazz to klezmer to hip-hop, and he has worked with everyone from Killah Priest to klezmer artist Susan Hoffman-Watts and violinist Sophie Solomon (their album HipHopKhasene funks up the Jewish wedding ceremony). So you better recognize, goyee.
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