Raz Bin Sam
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Raz Bin Sam

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The album is a mix of reggae and dancehall tracks flavoured with some hip hop beats
and heavy Middle Eastern influences. Crazy For The Righteousness is an interesting
tune, the riddim reminds us of Jackie Mittoo's 'Drum Song' and is a good example
how Middle Eastern influences work fine with a reggae beat. Pull Up is a powerful
dancehall tune, again with a good injection of Middle Eastern music. Next comes a
traditional reggae tune called What's The Matter. A weaker tune is Mist In The
Jungle a tune across a Middle Eastern riddim.
On Livin Like That Raz Bin Sam teams up with Bobo dread Jah Mason. Both
vocalists have an almost identical energetic vocal delivery and the two of them
together makes a good rootical dancehall tune. We like the next tune to the max, it's
a solid roots 'n' culture one drop tune called %o Pagan. The title track Own This
Life tells us to stay strong and positive, saying that life is a miracle and a blessing so
people should appreciate and make the most of it. "Morning prayer makes me feel
the best" referring to Jewish rituals that he practices and are the tools he uses to keep
himself on the right track.
%o Place In Our Hearts sees producer Jah Warrior and Raz Bin Sam both in good
shape. The riddim is called 'Creation' and the song is definitely above average. Clean
% Pure For Sure is a disappointing, over the top hip hop/dancehall tune. Skip it.
Traditional and a little dubbed up is Gevald. The same vibe carries over Something
To Remember. Sweet % Vicious is far too much guitar driven while Soul To Sound is an appropriate ode to the music itself. Good vibes in that tune! - "REGGAE VIBES" - CRM Radio 102.7 FM

"SOMETHING DIFFERENT: A Review of Own This Life by Raz Bin Sam"

Given my
not so deep
and novicelevel
of Israel
the country
and Israeli
culture and
my better
than ‘not
so deep’
and novicelevel
and knowledge of Jamaica and Jamaican culture, the two would seem
to have a bit in common. Therefore, at least theoretically speaking,
one would think that our greatest ‘cultural export’, Reggae music
would be something which would find a home in Israel and amongst
Jewish people, being by far the most popular (and best) form of
STRICTLY cultural music in the world in my opinion and Israel, of
course, being one of the cultural and historical capitals of the world.
Of course that wasn’t the case, at least not to my knowledge, up
until a few years back when I started getting questions from everyone
and their mothers as whether or not I had heard ‘Matisyahu’ or
something like that. Matisyahu is a Jewish Reggae artist (I think born
in the States) who makes a brand of Reggae which is noticeably a
bit ‘different’, but its also very noticeable that he knows exactly
what he’s doing and has had quite a bit of experience (and reading
through his bio he lists Sizzla as amongst his inspirations musically) in
Reggae music. One could rather easily go to make the case that
Matisyahu is even one of the most popular Reggae artists in the
world, now having two certified Gold albums to his credit in the US
(2006’s Youth and 2005’s Live At Stubb’s) with an album for 2009
loaded and ready to go as well, which is certain to be one of the
biggest selling Reggae albums of the year. Matisyahu would have at
least SEEMED to open the door to many other Jewish and Israeli
Reggae artists and although we may have yet to see the FULL benefit
of his ascension, DEFINITELY a few years down the line I’d be
absolutely shocked if Israel didn’t turn into a more consistent
producer of Reggae talents as many of its European neighbours are
(even though it’s technically in Asia), as well as several Asian countries also (it is also worth mentioning, perhaps, that Jamaican
Dancehall superstar Sean Paul is also half Jewish to my knowledge).
However, while we wait for someone to emerge, perhaps an
individual with more IMMEDIATE aspirations could step forth and set a
pace on something which may prove to be more in line with the
typical Reggae standards (thinking of Matisyahu as
more ‘mainstream’) and, who knows, maybe even do some of his
business actually in Jamaica.
Meet Mr. IMMEDIATE. Australia isn’t a very bad place for Reggae music
to be popular either. Although I struggle to think of many major acts
from ‘down under’, outside of the very popular band Katchafire, I do
know that there are some of our artists who are very popular there
and tour Australia and neighbouring locations quite consistently, in
particular Jah Mason. Australia also has somewhat of that laid
back ‘beach’ and ‘surfer’ type of culture which is also present in
Reggae hotbeds across the globe, such as Brazil, Hawaii and especially
California in the States. THUS, if you were going to introduce me to a
Reggae artist who was originally from out of Israel and then had spent
part of his time developing in Australia that is someone I’d be
interested in hearing. Add to that fact that this artist had been linked
through a Jamaican label which just happens to be one of my
favourite going right now and I’m more than just ‘interested’. I
DEMAND that you tell me who this individual is. Well in this case, the
aforementioned ‘Mr. Immediate’ is one Raz Bin Sam. Raz Bin Sam is
apparently quite the veteran, although I only first heard his name
back in 2007 which would have been the release year of what I
thought was his debut album, the well regarded Bin Tote Too (which I
really need to track down one of these days). Two things which
weren’t directly involved in the music of that album were of very
interesting note, however, outside of the album itself. The first was
the fact that it turns out Bin Tote Too wasn’t actually RBS’ first album
but more like his third, as he had previously albums Kitset (I don’t
know what that means either) which was in Hebrew and arrived in
1999 (thus predating Matisyahu I believe) and also there was
Domesila, a predominately English album which arrived in 2002 and
apparently provided RBS with the tune, Dalai Lama which was quite
popular for him. The second thing which was quite interesting about
Bin Tote Too, besides the album itself is the fact that it was released
via one of my favourite labels going right now, Dasvibes. The same
label has been heavily involved in some of my favourite albums over
the past few years including Cali P’s EXCELLENT debut album, Lyrical
Faya from just 2008, the MASSIVE The Most High album from Jamaican
veteran chanter Daddy Rings which was arguably the best album in all
of 2007 and ESPECIALLY King Of Kings, the long overdue debut from
singer Elijah Prophet from out of Westmoreland which in 2006 which
just may have been the GREATEST Reggae debut album from the last
two decades or so (and he is also apparently coming with the followup
to King Of Kings this year also). Also, were that not enough for
DasVibes’ credentials (and it was), they also had a hand in one of my
favourite riddims over the last few years, the Gloria, which they also
released on a very fine album compilation as well. Take Raz Bin Sam
and combine him again with DasVibes (who, incidentally has rereleased
much of RBS’ existing catalogue, making it available to the
masses today) and I’m definitely taking a listen and what I’m listening
to is Own This Life, Raz Bin Sam’s latest full length album for
DasVibes. The sounds going into Own This Life are ‘different’ to say
the least and USUALLY ‘different’ isn’t my thing concerning Reggae music (I do, however LOVE ‘different’ in Soca). Thankfully, Own This
Life is some other kind of ‘different’ obviously as about three spins
into it, it started to grow on me. Raz Bin Sam delivers on Own This
Life a vibe that will TEAR THROUGH the casual Reggae listener and
will grow on the hardened Reggae head at the same time.
Trying to think of which artist Raz Bin Sam most reminds me of and its
kind of difficult. The one I’m leaning towards would probably be
Italian star Alborosie. The two have similar vibes although RBS is
consistently a bit harsher in his approach (think Alborosie + Agitated
version of Junior Kelly = Raz Bin Sam). I’m sure RBS would be happy to
be included in such company and he makes his case on Own This Life
beginning with the opener, Crazy For Righteousness. I wasn’t sure if I
had tuned up a Reggae album or a score to an Indiana Jones movie
with the way this tune begins. This song definitely isn’t one of my
favorite but it, like much of the album has grown on me quite bit.
Despite how it sounds I think it’s kind of an ‘uplifting party song’ or
one for the dance floor, given the exotic vibes. Odd, yet strangely
addictive opening for Own This Life although I do hope Raz Bin Sam
tones it back a little. While the next tune, Pull Up, isn’t all the way
leveled off compared to Crazy For Righteousness, it definitely takes a
FAR more lyrical approach and ultimately, in doing so, proves to be
one of the stronger efforts on the album altogether. He had me from
the first lines he uttered on the tune, “Yes you know, MANKIND IS LIKE
THE MELANOMA OF PLANET EARTH!”. Indeed Raz Bin Sam. Yet another
exotic and Arabian vibes back this one which is a BIG TUNE by its end.
The tune which finishes the opening of Own This Life is the first
NORMAL bit of Reggae music we hear from RBS on the album as he
spins What’s The Matter on a straight forward one-drop backing which
sounds SO GOOD here. This tune is probably the best written on the
album it is downright CLEVER at times (it sounds like something which
is kind of harsh in ‘disguise’ like something you would hear from IWayne).
The start is kind of awkward, but it grows on you, and of
course it helps that the rest of the album is better.
The majority of ‘better’ comes in the form of two WICKED
combinations which go to comprise the CLASS of Own This Life. The
first is Livin Like That alongside veteran top notch Jamaican chanter
Jah Mason. Any tune on which the Mason voices immediately gets that
much better just because of his presence and this one is no different.
When he gets into his section on the tune RBS has already built the
vibes to a fevered pitch and although he is ultimately outshined by his
friend here (which is what you would expect) Raz Bin Sam definitely
holds his own on the OUTSTANDING tune. Livin Like That is only
topped by previous single from the album, the HUGE Life Is A Gift
which features RBS alongside ‘The People’s Choice’ Ray Darwin. This
one is SPARKLING! You almost wish Bin Sam would employ this type of
laid back delivery a bit more often, but maybe the fact that he
doesn’t make this sound even better. The song is primarily is a nice
message to the youths about appreciating LIFE and all the virtues and
beauties which it offers to us. For his part, as expected, Darwin pulls
in HEAVY vibes, including ‘invoking’ a bit of vibes from his now
legendary signature tune. The song is just RIDICULOUS a certain
winner and certainly the best you’ll find on Own This Life, which is
saying a lot. Left to his own direction, RBS continues to infuse the
Middle Eastern vibes in his Reggae, which around half way through the
album REALLY started to catch me a bit. Check the tune Mist In The
Jungle which isn’t much Reggae at all, save for the lyrical approach (and RBS does have a quite detectable Hip-Hop cadence to his normal
delivery as well) but is just so well done for what(ever) it is and
seriously by the album’s end I think it was the tune which I had spun
through the most altogether. Clean N Pure For Sure is a tune which
has a similar vibes and is another strange tune (and it features RBS
about forty paces ahead of where I’d like to see him on such a tune),
this one supporting the merits of keeping oneself clean, both literally
and spiritually. It definitely is something different and although RBS
apparently loses his mind halfway through and just starts screaming
randomly, he eventually rights the ship to a degree. Sweet N Vicious
is pretty much a Dancehall tune and a surprisingly straightforward one
at that and one which RBS definitely handles quite well. I think this is
a style of tune which he should explore doing in the future as well, he
did a great job on that one and I wasn’t expecting that AT ALL. Now,
if you go through the album focusing on the Reggae tunes exclusively,
it gets even stronger. No Pegan is a WONDERFUL example as it is a
VERY meditative vibes on a straight one-drop. Easily one of the best
on the album and if you want to call it THE best, I’m not arguing with
you as RBS espouses on the beauty of his culture. The title track is a
Reggae/folksy hybrid of a tune which, if it doesn’t do something for
you on some level, you may actually be deceased. Its kind of corny
sounding at times, but rest assured, you spin that song enough, you’ll
be standing in line somewhere and be COMPLETELY UNABLE to shake
it out of your head. And it brings a good message at the same time,
thus, big tune. No Place In Our Hearts is even stronger and has one
SWEET sound to it. All of the hardcore Reggae heads will love this
one! The vibes being so high and RBS taking his own sounds back just
a bit, go to making this one a WINNER, definitely. As Own This Life
winds down, it stays on that same heavy Roots Reggae vibes,
wonderfully (except the aforementioned Sweet N Vicious, of course).
Gevald (which, if I researched correctly, is a Yiddish word
meaning ‘Oh No!’ or some other exclamation like such) is one of the
most laid back tunes on the album and one of the best at the same
time (and musically speaking may just be the greatest composition
you’ll find here). The exact same quality carries over the WICKED
Something To Remember which may sound even better than Gevald
(with the COOLEST guitar sound you’ll find on Own This Life
altogether). And all of that sets the stage for the closer, another of
the bigger tunes on the album Soul To Sound, an ode to the music
itself and, by extension, life itself. Soul To Sound brings the very
differently vibed Own This Life to a very familiar conclusion and does
Overall, I think it goes without saying that I, like most Reggae heads
listening to the album undoubtedly, favour the Reggae songs on Own
This Life from Raz Bin Sam, but one would also have to appreciate the
more exotic sounds to it as well, because it is there which provides
RBS with his individuality. There are some tunes on this album which
simply NO ONE ELSE in Reggae is making and, as I said, typically I
frown on people taking Reggae and combining it with so many other
things, but in this case, the style is so ORIGINAL. You go listen to
Crazy For Righteousness and bring me the name of another skilled
artist who would even ATTEMPT something like that if they had their
preference. With Raz Bin Sam it comes off so easy and that, combined
with a deceptively deep bag of lyrics is his REAL attraction and the
real attraction for Own This Life. His new album is recommended for
fans of modern Reggae (especially new fans) because I think it has
enough of a ‘curious’ edge to sway even the HARDEST, MOST ARROGANT, Reggae SNOB out there. Even me.
Rated 4/5 stars
DasVibes Productions
2009 [Releases on May 1, 2009] - Achis' Reggae Blog Caribbean Music Break Down


Raz Bin Sam Livin Like That Feat Jah Mason (2009)
a combination tune featuring top Jamaican chanter Jah Mason, voiced on a Middle Eastern dancehall riddim
rating: 4/5
Thumping dancehall tune! Love the mix of influences: it's got that MIA rawness with the Middle Eastern sound
with a Jamaican feel.
Dom Alessio, triple JJJ - Dom Alessio, triple JJJ

"Raz Bin Sam"

One of the big names in reggae on the North Coast is Raz Bin Sam, and his new CD is
out this week – Own This Life. The launch is at the Beach Hotel this Saturday.
‘I have always been playing music, mainly writing songs and lyrics,’ he says. ‘The Lion I
band started four years ago, and before that I was trying to get a committed group
together. In the beginning of 2005, I gave myself six months to finish the album I was
working on (Bin Tote Too), before moving to Melbourne to find myself a band. About
two weeks later I met a couple of the Lion I members, and they invited me for a jam and
we’ve been together ever since.’
What made you move here?
‘Surfing. I have been here nine years and was coaching at Black Dog Surfing for six
years, and still surf almost every day. Initially it was for a three month surf trip with
friends. I fell in love with Australia and wanted to stay.’
What drew you to the one drop?
‘I have been listening to reggae forever – my parents listen to reggae, among other
music. It was played at home on a daily basis – Bob Marley, Burning Spear. I really feel
connected to the message and the way reggae artists use the lyrics. It’s about life, love,
religion, keeping it real and telling your story.’
Raz is no Rasta
‘I don’t sing conventional reggae, I am a Jew and an Israeli, and my main message is to
give the Jew and Israeli a better name; to shed some clarity and light on the Middle
East situation. I respect other people and their religion and their belief.
‘I believe in one God and that love is the golden rule. The biblical God – that is for the
Christian, the Jews and the Muslim, are all one. According to the book, we are the sons
and daughters of Abraham the father. My band members are all from different religions
– Muslim and Christian, and I am a Jew. We all get along greatly!’
Perceptions of Jews and Israel are often mixed he says.
‘I came across peoplein Australia that have a judgemental opinion about Israelis. They
would say things like “you kill the Palestinians. ”Well I don’t kill anyone – I even escaped
compulsory Israeli military service for that reason.’
It is a complex and often misunderstood socio-political-religious situation in Israel,
according to Raz. The media’s short grab reporting of an event is often not explored in
‘The same people that watch the news and build an opinion on what they watch – and
then criticise – these are the people I want to reach. The majority of Isaelis want to
share and prosper on the land, and having peace in that part of the world would boost
the economy. I believe that the same goes for the majority of Palestinians.
Unfortunately we have extremists on both sides, and the sad fact of blood revenge
running through generations. Jerusalem is the centre of the biblical world, and is to be
shared by all people and all religions. Jesus’s tomb and the Western Wall are three
minutes walk from each other.’
For some reason, Jews and being Jewish has a bad connotation, according to Raz.
‘There is no reason for it – people are people, no matter colour, race and religion. There
is good and bad in all of those. It shouldn’t be generalised and globalised. In my songs I
want to reach Jews all over the world who are afraid and ashamed of being who they
are. Religion for me is like a tool; it is to be a better person (ie the Ten
Commandments). These tools were created over thousands of years by highly spiritual
people. Judaism is my roots. I question it all the time and some people don’t need
religion to better themselves. There are things that I don’t agree with 100%, however I
take in what I find positive and constructive and use that to become a better person with
myself and for others. The new album is about much of this – and the way forward is
love, education and consideration. No man is better than another. Bless. - The Byron Shire Echo, Tuesday, 05 May 2009


“Kivsayat” 1999.
“Domesila” 2002.
“Bin Tote Too” 2005.
“Raz Bin Sam & the Lion I Band self titled EP” 2007.
“Own This Life” 2009.
“Raz Bin Sam & Lion I – Live In Byron Bay 2009” (exclusive to Itunes)



Raz Bin Sam, a Jewish artist with a dynamic style and sound, comes from a small town in the centre of Israel. His culture is ancient, war ridden and clouded with conflict. Inspired to shed light on his people’s story, Bin Sam moved to Australia to produce his works in English aiming to spread the Israelite truth internationally.