HipHopDX Premiere: Matisyahu has built a massive fanbase since emerging with his sophomore album, Youth, in 2006. His latest single, “Love Born,” is a melting pot of reggae, Hip Hop, and dub. Coupled with a strong lyrical narrative, it grabs hold of the listener and refuses to relent.

Throughout his career, the sense of pain as a vehicle towards emotional growth has stayed close to Matisyahu. Last year, he was boycotted in Spain and removed from a major festival lineup due to his Jewish heritage and connection to Israel.

Matisyahu was eventually invited back to the festival only to take the stage to be greeted by protesters as they slung verbal insults and physical objects at him to disrupt his performance. It was a painful experience, but somewhere during his set, the singer was able to absorb that pain and empathize with those trying to shut him out. As the song states, “Love born out of pain is the real thing.”

“The central tenet of Judaism is the ‘Shema,’ which speaks of the oneness of God,” Matisyahu tells DX. “The very next line in this prayer states, ‘And you should love God with all your heart, soul, and might.’ This is what ‘Love Born’ is all about. If everything is one, then pain, struggles, success, and failure are all part of that one, and we can learn to love it all.”

Music for Matisyahu is not an escape from reality, but rather a true emotional expression of his life. It is a way to accept reality as it truly is.