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Hip Hop Hoodios: Latin-Jewish Hip-Hoppers

Hip Hop Hoodios is very likely the best-selling Latino-Jewish urban musical collective of all time, and perhaps the only such band of its kind. The bicoastal duo of Josh Norek and Abraham Velez entered the music scene in 2001. Eight years later, they continue to intrigue audiences with a unique blend of hip-hop, klezmer and Latin genres, as well as whatever other sounds excite them.

"It's something that I'm fond of calling post-ethnic pyrotechnics," Velez says. "It's just a willful, over-the-top way of overstating the mashup of cultures that we observe, that we have in our own lives ... that we see all around us."

Examples of that mashup can be heard in Hip Hop Hoodios new album, Carne Masada: Quite Possibly the Very Best of Hip Hop Hoodios. They describe it as being filled with "Latino-Jewish madness."

The band has had success reaching a multicultural audience, a mix often heavily influenced by where they perform. But the ability of Hip Hop Hoodios to attract a diverse audience is no accident.

"I realized that we had that potential ... to be openly Jewish, but connect with audiences whether they are Latino, Jewish, [or] not Jewish," Norek says.

Hip Hop Hoodios recently spoke to host Michel Martin about infusing cultural commentary into the group's music, while also applying a healthy dose of humor.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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