Last month, self-professed “Best Jewish Rapper in Koreatown” Kosha Dillz got his website hacked by terrorist group ISIS. Not a joke or a publicity stunt, the Los Angeles-based New Jersey native found his website seized and defaced, leading to Dillz speaking with Homeland Security and eventually being interviewed everywhere from Fox News to local CBS affiliates regarding the story.
But while the hack did put a damper on Dillz’s November, the rapper’s found a much more joyous holiday season. Dillz plays two morning shows at Madison Square Garden on December 21, followed by a special Hip-Hop Hanukkah at Pianos. We spoke to Dillz, who is signed to Murs’s 3:16 imprint, about life after the ISIS hack, witnessing the chaos in Israel after, and getting ready to make his Madison Square Garden debut.
It’s been a pretty busy month for you.
Yeah, it’s kinda crazy. I have this wrestling tournament I’m rapping at at the Garden, which is going to be a pretty cool event. I wrestled half my elementary school, all my middle school, my whole high school life and college too, that’s how I got into that world. I wrestled D1 in college. Now I volunteer coach at high school wrestling clubs, that’s how I got in.
You also have the Hanukkah show that night. Hanukkah shows have become something of a tradition for you.
Hanukkah shows are a big deal for me. It’s a time I play a lot. I’ve played Peter Rosenberg’s Hip-Hop Hanukkah at S.O.B.’s, and this year I decided to throw one as an after-party of the Madison Square Garden show during the day. I wanted to do something really, really big and then something small to bridge the culture together. Last year I played a bunch of Matisyahu shows for his Festival of Lights tour, and this year’s going to be a little bit different. It’s really a big party time for Jews and the American culture has really spruced it up.
Following the media attention of the ISIS attack, which you were at one point concerned on how it would affect your business, do you find there’s been any positive effects resulting from it?
Yeah, I think that more people are aware of what I do. I was getting a lot of attention, and the website got fixed thank G-d and so everything’s back up and running. Then I was trending on Twitter from the Vans Warped Tour announcement. So the ISIS thing happened, then the Vans Warped Tour thing happened, then the MSG thing happened. SXSW was announced, I’m an artist there. I can’t really complain. People enjoy hearing the story about the ISIS thing because it’s an interesting story to explain.
Shortly after the ISIS hack you went to Israel after a terrorist attack there.
Yeah dude, it was nuts. There was an attack at a temple in Har Nof, a really, really quiet area. A small section of Jerusalem. I was going [to Israel] for a festival; the attack happened the day before I flew out. When I landed, my friends were posting about it, so I decided to go there. After going there, I decided to start filming stuff and I made a video of the kids who were playing there the day after. Just imagine someone killing a cop in America, hacking them alive but then partying the next day, giving out candy in the streets. It was a really crazy time, because the Michael Brown verdict had just happened in America.
It was a gruesome attack. It wasn’t like a bomb or a gunshot or something where somebody just ran away. People were back to normal after 24 hours. I met the daughters of the people that were killed. I’d never had that experience in my life. I met a kid who was a first responder, a 21-year-old who went and handled everybody from the Jewish soldiers to the Jewish police officer who was shot in the head and a lot of people who were injured. When I made the first video, a guy saw it in L.A. and came out to help, and we got on video the whole experience. The kid’s telling a story of exactly what he’s seeing and nobody was covering it. I’ve seen what media manipulation really is, and it was pure hatred. CNN reported it was an attack at a contested site, but it wasn’t a contested site. Some people reported it was a Jerusalem mosque, but it wasn’t a mosque. People just like spreading hysteria.
Kosha Dillz and DJ J-Ronin celebrate “Hip Hop Hanukkah” on Sunday, December 21 at 8 p.m. at Pianos, 150 Ludlow Street. Doors are 8 and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance.
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